Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ural Landscapes!

The Polar region of the Urals has become a glacial landscape over the past few hundred thousand years.  The glacial movement of the polar region can be seen through large deposits of glacial till and erratic stones.  The large cirques of these frozen mountains contain large glaciers.  Large arĂȘte’s can be seen in the polar Urals, the arĂȘtes were created when multiple glacial forms created adjacent cirques and parabola valleys; this leaves a sharp rock edge.  Many large glacial lakes are represented in the polar landscapes of the north; the large lakes were created by retreated glaciers of millions of years ago.

Erratics from large ancient glaciers in the polar/sub-polar region of the Ural Mountains From

Glacial till depositing from large glacial scouring of the landscape.  From Google images.

Glacial lakes in the Polar Urals. From Google images.

Large Cirque in the Polar region of the Urals.  Contains one of many small glaciers in northern Russia
This satellite photo shows the random location of the Ural Mountains, and helps to explain different regions landscapes, the Polar North and southern Urals have distinct differences.
Large parabola valley in the polar region of the Ural Mountains from Google images. Aretes and large glacial lakes can also be seen.

Large Arete created by two or more Cirques or parabola valleys. From

The southern portion of the Urals, specifically the western slope has large Karst regions riddled with large dolines (sink-holes, underground rivers). This ancient mountain range used to have coastal regions millions of years ago creating large areas of sandstone and limestone.

The southwest region is primarily sedimentary limestone and dolomite and allows for chemical weathering of the rock.  Thousands and thousands of years of weathering created large caves throughout the region.  These large caves are created from underground streams that carve out large sections of the sedimentary rock.  Much of the rivers in this region have dissolved loads filled with limestone sediments.

This diagram demonstrates the process in which the caves and dolines of the Urals are created
 From Bing Images
Ignateva Cave, From wiki images. Created by chemical weathering of the limestone.

A large cave in the karst region of the Urals Mountains; this cave is large enough for people to explore.  These large caves are created by water induced chemical weather of the rock.  From

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Weather processes and clouds

Image from Google,  Map of Russia and Asia
  The location of the Ural Mountains creates separation of Asia from Europe. They are one of the higher mountain ranges in Eastern Europe and contribute to weather patterns in the region. 

Image from Bing Images, Orographic lifting, adiabatic heating/cooling

 The Urals are an obstacle for air trying to move over them creating Orographic lifting.  As air pushes over the western slopes clouds form and precipitation can occur.   This process drives weather patterns and cyclonic effects over Asia and eastern Russia. 

From Google images, Satellite view of Ural Mountains, Demonstrates rain-shadow on leeward side as well as wispy clouds pushing through the mountains

From Google images, A closer view of clouds pushing over the Urals in adiabatic process
Bing images,  High lenticular clouds

Google images,  Extremely high cirrus clouds

As stable air is pushed upward, the air is cooled to the dew point (lifting condensation level) and creates precipitation on the western slopes, this can also account for high cirrus clouds and lenticular cloud formations on the eastern side of the Urals.  Unstable air pushes over the mountains and settles creating precipitation within the mountains, typically snow due to the sub-polar climate.

 Image from class lectures, demonstrates and explains orographic lifting and precipitation
The eastern side (leeward) of the Urals is in a rain shadow creating a much drier arid environment.  This leeward side of the Urals can be punished with extremely cold Chinook winds from adiabatic warming of the air on the down slope.

Much like North America weather patterns move primarily from West to East with colder airs approaching from the north and warmer air from the south, this creates a slightly similar effect the Rocky Mountains have on the Front Range.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Weathering of the Ural Mountains

There is a very diverse landscape between the northern polar region, and southern temperate region.  The difference in climate creates different types of physical and chemical weathering between north and south. regions.

The Ural Mountain range stretches North to South for wiki images

7 Strong men of the Urals (from
A main attraction in the Urals is the “7 strong men”.  Towering metamorphic rock pillars grouped together like 7 strong men.  These forms are highly physically, chemically, and salt weathered.  The extreme climate that these magnificent natural forms are located creates a perfect environment for frost weathering and salt weathering.  
Basal weathering (from Google images)
In this photo there are clear signs of basal weathering and perhaps even some biological weathering from lichens and moss.  The large joints allow for moisture to enter and freeze during the frigid winter months expanding and breaking off pieces of the rock. 

Sablja in the Central Urals (from
Sablja shows extreme weathering and oxidation giving the peak a red color.  This angular peak has undergone detachment of colluvium creating piles of talis below. 

Ignateva cave entry (from wiki images)

Look closely at Ignateva there is chemical weathering on the rocks. Distinct color variations caused by rain water, soil and plant interaction on the rock creating new chemicals within the rock.  The cave is created by cavernous weathering creating a large tefoni.

Narodnaya Peak (northern Urals) physical weathering (form google images)

Areas of mass wasting on Narodnaya peak, you can see areas where rock avalanches and slow earth flows have occurred.

Cool Picture from Ural mountains, by the looks of the slabs of rock they have experience pressure release


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Orogeny of the Ural Mountains!

The frigid Ural Mountains in Eastern Russian are located at lat. 64°N and lat. 61°N and create a border between Europe and Asia.  The Urals are one of the World most ancient mountain ranges being created about 300 million years ago! These incredible mountain forms were created by a continent to continent convergent plate collision, categorizing the Urals as linear folded mountains.

 The extreme pressure of this collision can be seen in the large amount of warped metamorphic rock, schist, and gabbro.  All still in tact because of there durability against weathering and erosion.

Weathering & Erosion of Folded mountains
 Extreme pressure from folding has created many faults, flatirons and hogbacks along the Urals.

Platinum from the Ural Mountains

The ancient collision of the supercontinent Pangaea created these peculiarly located mountain ranges miles from any rift valley or subduction zone.  Because the age of the Urals there are many diverse geological features and a bounty of precious and semi precious metals and stones. 
from Google images

from Google images

This aesthetic differentiation in the Urals is caused by weathering and erosion of  limestone regions and durability of the metamorphic regions.  

Many breathtaking views of dark mafic rock structures from the ancient ocean crust can be seen. There are also many multicolored strata on open cliff faces from years of sedimentary rocks being created.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Intro Blog to Ural Mountains

My name is Dylan Lewan and I am a Jr. and Urban Studies major.  I chose to do my blog on the Ural Mountains located in Russia.  I find the Urals fascinating because they are one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world.  Because of the age of the Ural Mountains there are many distinct and interesting unique features such as the rich Geology, Ecology and History associated with them.  I hope to learn more about the processes that created these ancient forms as well as why this region is so rich in precious metals and stones.  I also hope to learn the impact the location of the mountains has created in Eastern Europe/Western Asia.