Siberia is a vast geographical region that constitutes all of North Asia. This place ranges from the Ural Mountains in the west to the famous Pacific Ocean in the east.
Siberia has been a vital part of Russia since the latter part of the 16th century. Siberia is a region that is vast and also sparely populated. This part of the world covers an area of more than 13.1 million square kilometers. So, here, we will discuss some amazing facts about this famous region of our planet, Siberia.
Facts About Siberia
Siberia is a vast region in Russia:
Siberia is a vast region in Russia that covers almost 77% of the landmass of this country. The Ural Mountains create the border of this region to the west, the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the east, and Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and China to the south.
The famous Yenisey River divides this region into two vital parts: Eastern and Western. The central portion of Siberia was regarded as the core part of the Soviet Union region. Beyond this region, the western part of Siberia includes a few territories of the Ural region.
The History of Siberia:
The history of Siberia dates back to ancient times when it was home to various indigenous tribes. However, in the 16th and 17th centuries, Siberia became integral to the Russian Empire.
In the early 17th century, Siberia became a colony of Russia and was used as a location of exile for criminals and political prisoners. Many of these exiles were sent to Siberia to work in factories and mines, and their labor was used to develop the resources of that region.
The expansion of the Russian Empire:
During the 1600s, the Russian Empire expanded into Siberia, pushing further north and east. By the end of the century, Russians had reached the Pacific Ocean, and the region had become a vital source of gold, fur, and some other valuable resources.
The fur trade was a vital economic activity in Siberia in the 1600s, with furs like ermine, sable, and fox, all of which were exported to Asia and Europe.
This fur trade was dominated by Russian nobles and merchants who created the St. Petersburg-based Russian-American company, which dominated the fur trade in Alaska and Siberia.
The paleontological importance of Siberia:
Siberia is famous for its paleontological importance, as it contains bodies of several prehistoric animals from the Pleistocene Epoch. All of those bodies were preserved in permafrost or in ice.
Specimens of Yuka, the mammoth, Goldfuss cave lion cubs, wooly rhinoceros from the Kolyma, wooly mammoth from Oymyakon, and horses and bison from Yukagir have been found.
Moreover, at least three human species lived in the Southern region around 40,000 years ago, which are H. neanderthalensis, H. sapiens, and the Denisovans.
The Trans-Siberian Railway:
The Trans-Siberian Railway, the world’s longest railway, was not built until the late 19th century, and in the 1600s, traveling across Siberia was extremely dangerous and difficult.
At that time, lakes and rivers had to be crossed by boat, and there were only a few roads. Travelers had to face harsh weather conditions and the threat of being attacked by wild animals, bandits, and indigenous tribes.
The Russian Empire continued to expand into Siberia after a few centuries. Also, by the 1900s, this region became an important place for mining and forestry.
The climate in Siberia:
The climate of Siberia varies a lot, but it has long, brutally cold winters and short summers. On the north coast, the north part of the Arctic Circle, there is an incredibly short summer, which lasts just one month.
This region’s population lives in the south, along the Trans-Siberian Railway route. The southernmost part of this region has a humid continental climate.
There you can see cold winters but fairly lengthy summers that usually last at least four months.
The temperature of Siberia:
The annual average temperature of this place is about 32.9 degrees Fahrenheit. In January, the average temperature here is almost minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit.
In July, the temperature turns out to be 66 degrees Fahrenheit, while temperatures in the daytime in summer usually exceed 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
The southern part of Siberia has a reliable growing season with exceedingly fertile chernozem soil and abundant sunshine. Hence, this place can support agriculture to a great extent.
The temperatures of Sakha and Yana:
The wind from the southwest region brings warm air from the Middle East and Central Asia. In West Siberia, the climate is a few degrees warmer than the climate of the East region, whereas, in the northern part, an extremely cold winter subarctic atmosphere prevails.
However, the temperature in other parts may reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit on summer days. Generally, the coldest part of Siberia, Sakha, and the basin of Yana has the lowest temperature among all parts.
Precipitation in Siberia:
Precipitation in Siberia is usually low, which exceeds 20 inches only in the Kamchatka region. Here, moist winds mainly flow from the place known as the Sea of Okhotsk onto high mountains.
Hence, it can produce the only major glaciers in this region, though low summer temperatures and volcanic eruptions allow the growth of only a few forests.
Precipitation is also high in most parts of Primorye in the extreme south, where monsoon influences can create quite a heavy summer rainfall.
The vegetation of Siberia:
In regions of Siberia, you can find different types of trees and plants, such as birch, tall conifers, aspens, and lime trees that stretch for almost 2000 km along the western taiga region’s southern edge.
The floor of the forest is tangled with swamps and prickly wild roses. In those swamps, you can find beautiful orchids and water lilies.
Also, you can find 1000 species of fungi, plants, and lichen in western Siberia. You can find Siberian lime in the hills near the base of the famous Altai-Sayan Mountains.
Global warming in Siberia:
Notable researchers, like Judith Marquand at Oxford University and Sergei Kirpotin at Tomsk State University, warn that western Siberia has started to thaw due to global warming.
This region’s frozen peat bogs which may hold billions of tons of methane gas may get released into the atmosphere.
Methane is a greenhouse gas, 22 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. A research expedition 2008 detected methane gas levels up to 100 times above the normal atmosphere near the Siberian Arctic, which might not be a good sign.
The animals of Siberia:
Siberia is known for its different types of animals, like the Siberian tiger, Amur leopard, and Eurasian lynx. These animals prowl in the Siberian forests to hunt for animals like wild boar, red deer, etc. Also, occasionally, a few Asian black bears can be spotted here.
Moreover, you can see several other wild animals in Siberian forests, like moose, sable, otters, and even Siberian weasels.
Also, the birds of this region are oriental turtle doves, imperial eagles, western marsh harriers, Japanese sparrow hawks, snowy owls, read-breasted geese, Eurasian curlews, demoiselle cranes, and also the endangered yellow-breasted buntings.
Threats to the Siberian forests:
Illegal logging in the primary forests and pollution from gas and oil extraction infrastructure are serious threats to this region.
Also, this region is susceptible to climate change. Temperatures are increasing greatly due to global warming, creating droughts and affecting hydrology and plant productivity.
Poaching is also a serious concern in these forests. Also, many trees die due to forest fires, lack of water, and disease outbreaks.
The Lake Baikal:
The southern part of Siberia is the location of the world-famous Lake Baikal. This huge lake is 397 miles long and 50 miles wide. This is the deepest lake in the world, with a depth of 5314 feet or 1620 meters.
Lake Baikal’s climate is much milder than the surrounding territory’s. This lake’s surface freezes in January and thaws in May-June.
It is also the largest lake in the world by volume, holding one-fifth of the freshwater supplies of the entire planet. The only river that flows from this lake is the Angara River.
Religion in Siberia:
There are various types of beliefs throughout Siberia, including Orthodox Christianity and other denominations of Christianity, Islam, and Tibetan Buddhism. Also, an estimated 70000 Jews live in this region.
According to history, the Russian Orthodox Church played a vital role in the colonization of Siberia, with missionaries sent to convert indigenous people to Christianity.
Also, the church established hospitals and schools in several parts of Siberia. Also, the vast region of Siberia has various local traditions of gods.
Siberia is rich in minerals:
The Central Siberian Plateau is a craton that formed an independent continent. This place is exceptionally rich in minerals, such as diamonds, gold, and ores of lead, zinc, manganese, cobalt, nickel, and molybdenum.
Also, a big part of Siberia is covered by permafrost. However, global warming and climate change are reducing the size of this permafrost of Siberia.
The rivers of Siberia are very long:
Siberia is home to four of the ten largest rivers in the world. Those long rivers flowing through Siberia are Ob, Amur, Lena, and Yenisei.
Therefore, Siberia is an important region of Russia and the world, with its vast natural resources, diverse wildlife, freshwater lake, large rivers, and many more.
At the end of this article, we learned about 17 really amazing facts about this interesting and unique part of the world. These facts offer us a clear picture of our planet’s important region, Siberia. To know more, you may visit our website.
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