- Kola Peninsula
The Kola Peninsula (from
Sami language"Guoládat") ( _ru. Кольский полуостров, "Kol'skij poluostrov") is a peninsulain the far north of Russia, part of the Murmansk Oblast. It borders upon the Barents Seaon the North and the White Seaon the East and South. The west border of the Kola Peninsula stretches along a meridian from the Kola Gulfthrough the Imandra Lake, Kola Lake, and the Niva Riverto the Kandalaksha Gulf.
The peninsula covers an area of about convert|100000|km2|sqmi|0. The north coast is steep and high, the southern is flat. In the west part of the peninsula there are two mountain ranges: the
Khibiny Mountains, and the Lovozero Tundra, the latter with points up to convert|1120|m|ft|0 in height. In the central part of the peninsula lies the Keyvywatershed.
Because the last
ice ageremoved the top sedimentlayer of the soil, the Kola Peninsula is on the surface extremely rich in various ores and minerals, including apatites, aluminasources, iron ore, mica, ceramic raw, titaniumore, phlogopite, and vermiculite, as well as ores of less-common and colored metals. MMC Norilsk Nickelconducts mining operations on the peninsula. The Kola Superdeep Boreholewhich is the deepest boreholein the world, is located here also, near the Norwegian border.
Despite its northern location, the Kola Peninsula has a relatively mild climate, because of the influence of warm Atlantic currents. The average temperature in January is about convert|-10|°C|°F|0|lk=on and about convert|10|°C|°F|0 in July. The peninsula is covered by
taigain the south and tundrain the north.
The Kola Peninsula has many fast-moving rivers with rapids. The most important of them are the
Ponoy River, Varzuga River, Teriberka River, Voronya River, and the Iokanga River. The major lakes are: Imandra Lake, Umbozero Lake, Lovozero Lake. The rivers of the peninsula are an important habitat for the Atlantic Salmon"Salmo salar", which return from Greenlandand the Faroe Islandsto spawn in fresh water. As a result of this a recreational fishery has been developed, with a number of remote lodges and camps hosting sport-fishermen throughout the summer months. Kola rivers become icebound during the winter.
Apart from the Russian
Pomors, the peninsula is also home to the Sami (Lappish) peoples, who were forced to settle in the town of Lovozeroduring the Communistyears, and who now herd reindeer across much of the region.
After the decline of Kola, an ancient settlement which gives its name to the peninsula, the major port of the region has been
Murmansk, which is also the capital. During the Soviet period, Murmansk was a significant submarine production center, and remains home to the Russian Northern Fleet. [ [http://www.nti.org/db/nisprofs/maps/murmansk.htm Northern Fleet: Naval Facilities near Murmansk, Murmansk Oblast.] "Nuclear Threat Initiative".]
The Kola Peninsula as a whole suffered major ecological damage, mostly as a result of pollution from the military (particularly naval) production, as well as from industrial mining of
apatite. About 250 nuclear reactors, produced by the Soviet military, remain on the peninsula. Though no longer in use, they still generate radiation and leak radioactive waste. [ [http://www.inesap.org/bulletin15/bul15art09.htm Environmental Problems in North-West Russia.] Alexey V. Yablokov. "International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation".]
* [http://www.nationalgeographic.com/wildworld/profiles/terrestrial/pa/pa1106.html Terrestrial Ecoregions Kola Peninsula Tundra] __NOTOC__
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