Friday, October 30, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
The Volga has many tributaries, most importantly the Kama, the Oka, the Vetluga, and the Sura rivers. The Volga and its tributaries form the Volga river system, which drains an area of about 1.35 million square kilometres in the most heavily populated part of Russia. The Volga Delta has a length of about 160 kilometres and includes as many as 500 channels and smaller rivers. The largest estuary in Europe, it is the only place in Russia where pelicans, flamingoes, and lotuses may be found. The Volga freezes for most of its length during three months of each year.
The Volga drains most of Western Russia. Its many large reservoirs provide irrigation and hydroelectric power. Waterways connecting Moscow to the White Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. High levels of chemical pollution currently give cause for environmental concern.
The fertile river valley provides large quantities of wheat, and also has many mineral riches. A substantial petroleum industry centres on the Volga valley. Other minerals include natural gas, salt, and potash. The Volga Delta and the nearby Caspian Sea offer superb fishing grounds. Astrakhan, at the delta, is the centre of the caviar industry.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
In Greco-Roman antiquity, Pliny the Elder thought that the Urals correspond to the Riphean Mountains mentioned by various authors. They are also known as the Great Stone Belt in Russian history and folklore.
The Urals extend 2,498 km from the Kazakh steppes along the northern border of Kazakhstan to the coast of the Arctic ocean. Vaygach Island and the island of Novaya Zemlya form a further continuation of the chain. Geographically this range marks the northern part of the border between the continents of Europe and Asia. Its highest peak is Mount Narodnaya (Poznurr, 1,895 m). Erosion has exposed considerable mineral wealth in the Urals, including gems such as topaz and beryl. The Virgin Komi Forests in the northern Urals are recognized as a World Heritage site. 68% of the Ural Mountains are located in Russia, whilst the remaining 32% are located in Kazakhstan. Geographers have divided the Urals into five regions: South, Middle, North, Subarctic and Arctic. The tree line drops from 1,400 metres to sea level as progressing north. Sections of the south and middle regions are completely forested.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
The modern team was formed in 1990, shortly before Croatia's independence from Yugoslavia, and by 1993 had gained membership in FIFA and UEFA. The team first played competitive matches in a successful qualifying campaign for UEFA Euro 96, leading to its first appearance at a major European championship. At Croatia's first FIFA World Cup in 1998 the team finished third and provided the tournament's top scorer, Davor Šuker. Since becoming eligible to participate in 1993, Croatia have qualified for every World Cup (several times without losing a match) and have missed only one European Cup tournament, in 2000.
Most home matches are played at the Maksimir Stadium in Zagreb, though some fixtures take place at the Poljud Stadium in Split or at other, smaller venues, depending on the nature of the match. The team was undefeated in its first 36 home competitive matches, the run ending with a 2008 defeat to England.
With a population of just over 4 million, Croatia is arguably the most successful 'small' country in football. Croatia was named FIFA's "Best Mover of the Year" in 1994 and 1998, becoming the only team to win the award more than once. On admission to FIFA, Croatia was ranked 125th in the world; following the 1998 World Cup campaign, the side ranked third, making it the most volatile team in FIFA Rankings history.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Plitvice Lakes National Park lies in the Plitvice plateau which is surrounded by three mountains part of the Dinaric Alps : Plješevica mountain (Gornja Plješevica peak 1,640 m) and the Mala Kapela mountain (Seliški Vrh peak at 1,280 m) and Medveđak (884 m).
The national Park is underlain by karstic rock, mainly dolomite and limestone with associated lakes and caves, this has given rise to the most distinctive feature of the lakes.
The lakes are separated by natural dams of travertine, which is deposited by the action of moss, algae and bacteria. The encrusted plants and bacteria accumulate on top of each other, forming travertine barriers which grow at the rate of about 1 cm per year.
The sixteen lakes are separated into an upper and lower cluster formed by runoff from the mountains, descending from an altitude of 636 m to 503 m over a distance of some eight km, aligned in a south-north direction. The lakes collectively cover an area of about two km², with the water exiting from the lowest lake to form the Korana River.
The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colours, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colours change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.