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Europe is traditionally defined as one of seven continents. Physiographically, it is the northwestern peninsula of the larger landmass known as Eurasia (or the larger Afro-Eurasia); Asia occupies the eastern bulk of this continuous landmass and all share a common continental shelf. Europe's eastern frontier is delineated by the Ural Mountains in Russia. The southeast boundary with Asia is not universally defined, but the modern definition is generally the Ural River or, less commonly, the Emba River. The boundary continues to the Caspian Sea, the crest of the Caucasus Mountains (or, less commonly, the river Kura in the Caucasus), and on to the Black Sea. The Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles conclude the Asian boundary. The Mediterranean Sea to the south separates Europe from Africa. The western boundary is the Atlantic Ocean. Iceland, though on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and nearer to Greenland (North America) than mainland Europe, is generally included in Europe for cultural reasons and because it is over twice as close to mainland Europe as mainland North America. There is ongoing debate on where the geographical centre of Europe falls.

Geography of Europe
Northwestern Europe at Night.JPG
Several of the oldest cities of Northwestern Europe are highlighted in this astronaut's photograph from 00:25 GMT on 10 August 2011
Europe orthographic Caucasus Urals boundary (with borders).svg
Area10,180,000 km2 (3,930,000 sq mi)[n] (6th)
Population742,452,000[n] (2013; 3rd)
Population density72.9/km2 (188/sq mi) (2nd)
DemonymEuropean
Countries50 sovereign states
5 with limited recognition
Dependencies4 dependencies
Languages~225 languages[1]
Time zonesUTC−1 to UTC+5
This video was taken by the crew of Expedition 30 on board the ISS on a pass over Europe. The two videos were shot simultaneously using different cameras: one pointing toward the northeast, and one pointing toward the east.

OverviewEdit

 
Satellite image of Europe by night

Some geographical texts refer to a Eurasian continent given that Europe is not surrounded by sea and its southeastern border has always been variously defined for centuries.

In terms of shape, Europe is a collection of connected peninsulas and nearby islands. The two largest peninsulas are mainland Europe and Scandinavia to the north, divided from each other by the Baltic Sea. Three smaller peninsulas—Iberia, Italy and the Balkans—emerge from the southern margin of the mainland. The Balkan peninsula is separated from Asia by the Black and Aegean Seas. Italy is separated from the Balkans by the Adriatic Sea, and from Iberia by the Mediterranean Sea, which also separates Europe from Africa. Eastward, mainland Europe widens much like the mouth of a funnel, until the boundary with Asia is reached at the Ural Mountains and Ural River, the Caspian Sea and Caucasus Mountains.

Land relief in Europe shows great variation within relatively small areas. The southern regions are mountainous, while moving north the terrain descends from the high Alps, Pyrenees and Carpathians, through hilly uplands, into broad, low northern plains, which are vast in the east. An arc of uplands also exists along the northwestern seaboard, beginning in southwestern Ireland, continuing across through western and northern Great Britain, and up along the mountainous, fjord-cut spine of Norway.

This description is simplified. Sub-regions such as Iberia and Italy contain their own complex features, as does mainland Europe itself, where the relief contains many plateaus, river valleys and basins that complicate the general trend. Iceland and the British Isles are special cases. The former is of North Atlantic volcanic formation, while the latter consist of upland areas once joined to the mainland until cut off by rising sea levels.

Peninsula of peninsulasEdit

Europe is sometimes called a "peninsula of peninsulas", to draw attention to the fact that Europe is a relatively small, elongated appendage to Asia, and that a large part of Europe is made up of peninsulas.[2]

Partial list of European peninsulas

GeologyEdit

 
The coast of Europe is heavily indented with bays and gulfs, as here in Greece.

Europe's most significant geological feature is the dichotomy between the highlands and mountains of Southern Europe and a vast, partially underwater, northern plain ranging from Great Britain in the west to the Ural Mountains in the east.[citation needed] These two halves are separated by the mountain chains of the Pyrenees and the Alps/Carpathians. The northern plains are delimited in the west by the Scandinavian mountains and the mountainous parts of the British Isles. The major shallow water bodies submerging parts of the northern plains are the Celtic Sea, the North Sea, the Baltic Sea complex, and the Barents Sea.

The northern plain contains the old geological continent of Baltica, and so may be regarded as the "main continent", while peripheral highlands and mountainous regions in south and west constitute fragments from various other geological continents.

The geology of Europe is hugely varied and complex, and gives rise to the wide variety of landscapes found across the continent, from the Scottish Highlands to the rolling plains of Hungary.

PopulationEdit

Figures for the population of Europe vary according to which definition of European boundaries is used. The population within the standard physical geographical boundaries was 701 million in 2005 according to the United Nations. In 2000 the population was 857 million, using a definition which includes the whole of the transcontinental countries of Russia and Turkey. Population growth is comparatively slow, and median age comparatively high in relation to the world's other continents.

RiversEdit

 
The Volga, the longest river in Europe, near Kazan, Russia.
 
The Danube, Europe's second-longest river, in Budapest, Hungary.

The most important rivers in Europe are Danube, Volga, Rhine, Elbe, Oder and Dnieper, among others.[further explanation needed]

European rivers by lengthEdit

The longest rivers in Europe, directly flowing into the World Ocean or Endorheic basins, with their approximate lengths:[3][4]

  1. Volga -   3,690 km (2,290 mi)
  2. Danube - 2,860 km (1,780 mi)
  3. Ural   -    2,428 km (1,509 mi)
  4. Dnieper - 2,290 km (1,420 mi)
  5. Don   -     1,950 km (1,210 mi)
  6. Pechora - 1,809 km (1,124 mi)
  7. Kama -  1,805 km (1,122 mi)
  8. Oka   -   1,500 km (930 mi)
  9. Dniester - 1,352 km (840 mi)
  10. Rhine   -   1,236 km (768 mi)
  11. Elbe   -   1,091 km (678 mi)
  12. Vistula - 1,047 km (651 mi)
  13. Tagus   - 1,038 km (645 mi)
  14. Daugava - 1,020 km (630 mi)
  15. Loire - 1,012 km (629 mi)
  16. Ebro - 960 km (600 mi)
  17. Prut - 953 km (592 mi)
  18. Neman - 937 km (582 mi)
  19. Meuse - 925 km (575 mi)
  20. Douro - 897 km (557 mi)
  21. Kuban River - 870 km (540 mi)
  22. Mezen - 857 km (533 mi)[5]
  23. Oder - 854 km (531 mi)
  24. Guadiana - 829 km (515 mi)
  25. Rhône - 815 km (506 mi)
  26. Kuma - 802 km (498 mi)
  27. Seine  - 776 km (482 mi)
  28. Mureș - 761 km (473 mi)
  29. Northern Dvina - 744 km (462 mi)
  30. Po - 682 km (424 mi)
  31. Guadalquivir - 657 km (408 mi)
  32. Bolshoy Uzen - 650 km (400 mi)
  33. Siret - 647 km (402 mi)
  34. Terek - 623 km (387 mi)
  35. Glomma - 604 km (375 mi) (Norway's longest and most voluminous river)
  36. Garonne - 602 km (374 mi)
  37. Kemijoki - 550 km (340 mi)
  38. *Main 525 km (326 mi) (longest (right) tributary of Rhine)
  39. Torne - 522 km (324 mi)
  40. Dalälven - 520 km (320 mi)
  41. Maritsa - 515 km (320 mi)
  42. Marne - 514 km (319 mi) (major tributary of the Seine)
  43. Neris - 510 km (320 mi)
  44. Júcar - 509 km (316 mi)
  45. Dordogne - 483 km (300 mi)
  46. Ume - 470 km (290 mi)
  47. Ångerman - 460 km (290 mi) (Sweden's longest rivers)
  48. Lule - 460 km (290 mi)
  49. Gauja - 452 km (281 mi)
  50. Weser - 452 km (281 mi)
  51. Kalix - 450 km (280 mi)

European rivers by dischargeEdit

The 15 rivers of Europe by average discharge, including only rivers directly flowing into the World Ocean or Endorheic basins:

  1. Volga - 8,087 m³/s (largest river in Eastern Europe)
  2. Danube - 6,450 m³/s (largest river in Central Europe)
  3. Pechora - 4,380m³/s
  4. Northern Dvina - 3,330m³/s
  5. Neva - 2,490 m³/s
  6. Rhine - 2,315 m³/s) (largest river in Western Europe)
  7. Rhône - 1,900 m³/s (largest river in France)
  8. Dnieper - 1,700 m³/s
  9. Po - 1,460 m³/s (largest river in Italy)
  10. Vistula - 1,080 m³/s
  11. Don - 890 m³/s
  12. Mezen - 890 m³/s
  13. Loire - 889 m³/s (longest river in France)
  14. Elbe - 860 m³/s
  15. Glomma - 709 m³/s (Norway's longest and most voluminous river)

Lakes and inland seasEdit

Major islandsEdit

Plains and lowlandsEdit

 
View across the Bulgarian section of the Lower Danubian Plain towards the central Balkan Mountains 90 km away

Mountain rangesEdit

 
Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, seen from Georgia.
 
Musala, highest peak of the Balkans seen from Yastrebets. The chalet Musala and the Everest shelter can be seen as well.
 
Mount Olympus, legendary abode of the Greek gods.
 
Maja Jezercë in Albania at 2,694m high is the highest peak of the Dinaric Alps.

Some of Europe's major mountain ranges are:

Land area in different classes of European mountainous terrain (classification from UNEP-WCMC):

Altitude Area (km2) % Area
≥4500m 1 0.00%
3500-4500m 225 0.00%
2500-3500m 497,886 4.89%
1500-2500m & slope ≥2° 145,838 1.43%
1000-1500m & slope ≥5°
or local elevation range >300m
345,255 3.39%
300-1000m
and local elevation range >300m
1,222,104 12.00%
Mountainous TOTAL 2,211,308 21.72%
Europe TOTAL 10,180,000 100.00%

Temperature and precipitationEdit

The high mountainous areas of Europe are colder and have higher precipitation than lower areas, as is true of mountainous areas in general. Europe has less precipitation in the east than in central and western Europe. The temperature difference between summer and winter gradually increases from coastal northwest Europe to southeast inland Europe, ranging from Ireland, with a temperature difference of only 10 °C from the warmest to the coldest month, to the area north of the Caspian Sea, with a temperature difference of 40 °C. January average range from 13 °C in southern Spain and southern Greek islands to -20 °C in the northeastern part of European Russia. Desert climates are found in the European portion of Kazakhstan and South Eastern Spain.

Western Europe and parts of Central Europe generally fall into the temperate maritime climate (Cfb), the southern part is mostly a Mediterranean climate (mostly Csa, smaller area with Csb), the north-central part and east into central Russia is mostly a humid continental climate (Dfb) and the northern part of the continent is a subarctic climate (Dfc). In the extreme northern part (northernmost Russia; Svalbard), bordering the Arctic Ocean, is tundra climate (Et). Mountain ranges, such as the Alps and the Carpathian mountains, have a highland climate with large variations according to altitude and latitude.

Landlocked countriesEdit

The landlocked countries in Europe are: Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Liechtenstein (which is doubly landlocked), Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Moldova, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Vatican. In addition, the two partly recognized frozen conflict zones of Artsakh and Transnistria are also landlocked.

Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, and North Macedonia constitute a contiguous landlocked agglomeration of eight countries in Central Europe and the Balkans, stretching from Geneva all the way to Skopje. The other landlocked countries are "standalone" landlocked, not bordering any other such European one (the emphasis is necessary, since Kazakhstan borders Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, thus forming a vast landlocked expanse in Central Asia)

Countries consisting solely of islands or parts of islandsEdit

Countries bordering or spanning another continentEdit

Countries that share a name with their capitalEdit

Countries whose capital is not the most populousEdit

Country Capital Largest city or municipality
  Liechtenstein Vaduz Schaan
  Malta Valletta Birkirkara
  San Marino City of San Marino Serravalle
  Switzerland Bern Zurich
  Turkey Ankara Istanbul

Note: Italy's capital, Rome, is the country's largest city if only the municipality (comune) is considered. Greater Milan is the largest Metropolitan Area in Italy.

Brussels is considered to be the largest city of Belgium, according to the population of the Brussels-Capital Region. The population of the City of Brussels is ~175,000. Antwerp is the biggest city of the country.

List of countries by the number of other countries they borderEdit

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Language facts – European day of languages, Council of Europe. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  2. ^ Europe:Physical Geography National Geographic - Education
  3. ^ "European Rivers". worldatlas.com.
  4. ^ "River Systems of the World". Archived from the original on 2009-09-19.
  5. ^ Мезень (река). Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on August 10, 2011.
  6. ^ https://www.peakbagger.com/range.aspx?rid=361
  7. ^ Peoples of Africa. Marshall Cavendish. 2000. ISBN 9780761471585.

External linksEdit