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Physical Geography of Northern Eurasia

Climatic Change and the Development of Landscapes

<<< Non-renewable Resources of Northern Eurasia | Physical Geography Index | General Physiography of Northern Eurasia in the Cenozoic >>>


The history of the modern landscapes of Northern Eurasia dates back to the early Cenozoic. By that time most of the continent had already undergone orogenesis and later planation and featured extensive surfaces associated with alluvial plains and eroded mountains. A distinct change in global climate marked the onset of the Cenozoic: it involved a progressive decrease in global temperature with superimposed fluctuations. The range and frequencies of these fluctuations intensified gradually throughout the Paleogene and Neogene and a sharp increase occurred at the beginning of the Quaternary. These trends in climate, together with neotectonic processes, controlled the evolution of the landscapesphere (a global system of landscapes).

This chapter reviews the evolution of the natural environment since the early Cenozoic, although discussion is limited to the most essential components and events. A comprehensive review of the evolutionary geomorphology of Northern Eurasia is presented in a five-volume work, Geomorphology of the USSR (Meshcheryakov and Aseev, 19 74; Aseev and Korzhuev, 1982; Dumitrashko, 1974; Korzhuev, 1974, 1975) and in the Paleogeomorphological Atlas of the USSR (Sidorenko and Gorelov, 1983). The evolution of coastal zones is discussed by Alekseev (1992). Many investigations have focused on the last glacial cycle and atlases-monographs published by Gerasimov and Velichko (1982), Frenzel et al. (1992), and Velichko (1993) are of particular interest. Finally, the current knowledge of Cenozoic history has been summarized by Velichko (1998).


Contents of the Climatic Change and the Development of Landscapes section:

Other sections of Physical Geography of Nortern Eurasia:



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