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Summary Article: Ural Mountains
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Mountain system extending for over 2,000 km/1,242 mi from the Arctic Ocean to the Caspian Sea, and traditionally regarded as separating Europe from Asia. The highest peak is Naradnaya, 1,894 m/6,214 ft. The mountains hold vast mineral wealth.

The Middle Urals contain the richest mineral deposits; iron, copper, chromium, nickel, precious stones, coal, oil, and asbestos are found here. It is one of the most industrialized regions of Russia. Perm, Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg (formerly Sverdlovsk), Magnitogorsk, and Zlatoust are major industrial centres; iron and steel production is especially important.

Most of the Ural Mountains is covered with forest (to a height of 500 m/1,640 ft in the north and 1,000 m/3,280 ft in the south); the trees are mainly coniferous. Climatic conditions (severe winters and dry summers, often resulting in droughts) limit the agricultural value of the region, but spring wheat and barley are grown in the Orenburg and Chelyabinsk oblasts, while potato and vegetable growing and dairy farming occur around the towns. Aside from iron and steel, other heavy industries include the smelting of copper (at Krasnouralsk, Kirovograd, and Mednogorsk), production of ferro-alloys (at Chelyabinsk and at Chusovoi in the Perm oblast), and vehicle manufacture (at Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk). Despite the mountainous terrain, the Urals region is well served by railways, being traversed from west–east by the Trans-Siberian Railway (via Kuibyshev, Ufa, Chelyabinsk, and Kurgan) and from north–south by two major lines. Waterway transport is largely limited to timber and oil freight on the River Kama. Pipelines running to the north and south of the mountains carry oil and gas from the North Ural gasfields and Tyumen oilfields to European Russia.

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