RU-525278 207 - ая открытка

Country: Russia

Distance: 3,827 km

Travel time:  9 days

On postcard: Kola Peninsula

The Kola Peninsula (from Northern Sami: Guoládat; Russian: Ко́льский полуо́стров, Kolsky poluostrov) is a peninsula in the far northwest ofRussia which comprises most of the territory of Murmansk Oblast.

Location and overview

The peninsula is located in the far northwest of Russia, almost completely to the north of the Arctic Circle and is washed by the Barents Sea in the north and the White Sea in the east and southeast. Geologically, the peninsula occupies the northeastern edge of the Baltic Shield. The western border of the peninsula stretches along the meridian from the Kola Gulfthrough the valley of the Kola River, Lake Imandra, and the Niva River to the Kandalaksha Gulf. The peninsula covers an area of about 100,000 square kilometres (38,610 sq mi). The northern coast is steep and high, while the southern coast is flat. The western part of the peninsula is covered by two mountain ranges: the Khibiny Massif and the Lovozero Massif,; the former contains the highest point of the peninsula—Mount Chasnachorr, the height of which is 1,191 meters (3,907 ft). The Keyvy drainage divide lies in the central part. The mountainous reliefs of the Murman and Kandalaksha coasts stretch from southeast to northwest, mirroring the peninsula's main orographic features.

Administratively, the territory of the peninsula comprises Lovozersky Pechengsky, and a small part of Kolsky District, as well as the territories subordinated to the cities and towns ofMurmansk, Severomorsk, Kirovsk, and parts of the territories subordinated to Monchegorsk, Apatity, and Kandalaksha.

Natural resources

Because the last ice age removed the top sediment layer of the soil, Kola Peninsula is on the surface extremely rich in various ores and minerals, including apatites andnephelines; copper, nickel, and iron ores; mica; kyanites; ceramic materials, as well as rare earth elements and non-ferrous ores. Deposits of construction materials such as granite,quartzite, and limestone are also abundant.  Diatomaceous earth deposits are common near the lakes and are used to produce insulation.


Closeness of the peninsula to the Gulf Stream leads to unusually high temperatures in winter, resulting in significant temperature variations between land and the Barents Sea and in fluctuating temperatures during high winds.Cyclones are typical during the cold seasons, while the warm seasons are characterized by anticyclones. Monsoon winds are common in most areas, with southern and southwestern winds typical in winter months and with somewhat more pronounced eastern winds in summer. Strong storm winds blow for 80–120 days a year.

Precipitation levels on the peninsula are rather high: 1,000 millimeters (39 in) in the mountains, 600–700 millimeters (24–28 in) on the Murman coast, and 500–600 millimeters (20–24 in) in other areas. The wettest months are August through October, while March and April are the driest.

The average temperature in January is about −10 °C (14 °F), with more cold temperatures typical in the central parts of the peninsula. The average temperature in July is about 11 °C(52 °F). Record lows reach −50 °C (−58 °F) in the central parts and -35–-40 °C (-31–-40 °F) on the coasts. Record highs exceed 30 °C (86 °F) almost on all the territory of the peninsula. First frosts can strike as early as August and may last through May and even June.

Flora and fauna

The peninsula is covered by taiga in the south and tundra in the north. In tundra, the cold and windy conditions and permafrost limit the growth of the trees, resulting in landscape dominated by grasses, wildflowers, and shrubs such as dwarf birch and cloudberry. In northern coastal areas, stony and shrub lichens are common. The taiga in the southern areas is composed mostly of pine trees and firs.

Reindeer herds visit the grasslands in summer. Other animals include polar bears, red and Arctic foxes, wolverines, moose, otters, andlynx in the southern areas. American Minks, which were released near the Olenitsa River in 1935–1936, are now common throughout the peninsula and are commercially hunted. Beavers, which became endangered by 1880, were re-introduced in 1934–1957. All in all, thirty-two species of mammals and up to two hundred bird species inhabit the peninsula.

Twenty-nine species of fresh water fish are recognized on the territory of peninsula, including trout, stickleback, Northern pike, and European perch. The rivers are an important habitat for the Atlantic salmon, which return from Greenland and the Faroe Islands to spawn in fresh water. As a result of this a recreational fishery has been developed, with a number of remote lodges and camps available to host sport-fishermen.The Kandalaksha Nature Reserve, established in 1932 to protect the population of Common Eider, is located in the Kandalaksha Gulf of the Kola Peninsula.


The Kola Peninsula has many small but fast-moving rivers with rapids. The most important of them are the Ponoy, Varzuga, Umba,Teriberka, Voronya, and the Yokanga. Most rivers originate from lakes and swamps and collect their waters from melting snow. The rivers become icebound during the winter, although the areas with strong rapids freeze later or not at all.

Major lakes include Imandra, Umbozero, and Lovozero. There are no lakes with an area smaller than 0.01 square kilometers (0.0039 sq mi).


The Kola Peninsula as a whole suffered major ecological damage, mostly as a result of pollution from the military (particularly naval) production, industrial mining of apatite, and military nuclear waste. About 137 active and 140 decommissioned or idle naval nuclear reactors, produced by the Soviet military, remain on the peninsula. For thirty years, nuclear waste had been dumped into the sea by the Northern Fleet and Murmansk Shipping Company. There is also evidence of contamination from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, with contaminants being found in the flesh of reindeer and other animals. Additionally, several nuclear weapons test ranges and radioactive waste storage facilities exist on the peninsula.

The main industrial pollution sources are Pechenganikel in Zapolyarny and MMC Norilsk Nickel in Monchegorsk—the large smeltersresponsible for over 80% of the sulfur dioxide emissions and for nearly all nickel and copper emissions.



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