Uplands (vysochyny). Parts of the earth's surface that rise above surrounding plains. Uplands on dry land usually rise 200–600 m above sea level. They are areas subjected to intensive erosive forces, which commonly carry materials from them (mostly by flowing water) onto adjacent lowlands. Uplands may be characterized morphologically as hilly, rolling, flat, or incised, according to the forces sculpting the surface.
The formation of uplands on the territory of Ukraine is associated with geological structure and tectonic movements of the earth's crust. The southern spurs of the Central Upland mark the upwarp of the Voronezh Massif. The Donets Ridge corresponds to a remnant of the main Donets Basin anticline. Neotectonic uplift (300–350 m) of portions of the southwestern slope of the East European Platform resulted in the formation of the inverted morphostructures of the Volhynia-Kholm Upland and the Podolian Upland. Neotectonic uplift (200–300 m) of individual blocks of the Ukrainian Crystalline Shield gave rise to the Dnipro Upland and the Azov Upland.
The uplands of Ukraine form two distinct belts. In the northeast is the Central Upland, the southern spurs of which (rising to 200 m above sea level or more) enter the territory of Ukraine. Its extension to the southeast forms the Don Ridge. Through the middle extends a belt of uplands, tapering off to the east. In its western reaches are the Volhynia-Kholm Upland (200–300 m above sea level); the Podolian Upland (200–400 m, reaching 471 m at Mount Kamula) with its western extensions, the Opilia Upland (250–400 m) and the Roztochia (300–390 m); and, south of the Dnister River, the Pokutian-Bessarabian Upland (200–400 m, reaching 516 m at Mount Berda). In the center of Ukraine are the Dnipro Upland (180–320 m) and the Zaporozhian Ridge (150–200 m), which straddles the Dnipro River at the rapids. The Azov Upland (200–250 m, reaching 327 m at Mount Mohyla-Belmak) is found in the southeast, and the Donets Ridge (150–300 m, reaching 367 m at Mount Mohyla-Mechetna) in the east.
Among the uplands of Ukraine the gently rolling Volhynia-Kholm Upland and especially the plateaulike Podolian Upland are severely eroded. The depths of the incised valleys and ravines range from 50 to 100 m, and along the Dnister River the valleys form gorges 150–200 m deep. Along the Dnipro River the rolling Dnipro Upland is incised with ravines and tributary valleys 100–150 m deep, and the hilly Azov Upland is carved up with ravines and valleys 150–200 m deep. In the northeast the southern spurs of the rolling Central Upland have a dense network of ravines and gullies, joining river valleys 200–250 m below the general level of the upland.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]
Encyclopedia of Ukraine