Azov Upland

Azov Upland. (Map: Azov Upland.) A plateau in southeastern Ukraine that corresponds to the southeastern part of the Ukrainian Crystalline Shield (the Azov Crystalline Massif). In the northwest the Azov Upland borders on the Zaporozhian Ridge; in the north, on the Dnipro Lowland; in the northeast, on the Donets Ridge; in the southwest, on the Black Sea Lowland; in the south, on the Azov Lowland (an extension of the Black Sea Lowland). The foundation of the Azov Upland is composed of crystalline formations—granites, gneisses, syenites, migmatites, basalts, etc—and is covered primarily with loess and loesslike loam. The crystalline foundation is exposed both in river valleys and on watersheds. The watershed located between the basin of the Dnipro River and the tributaries of the Sea of Azov forms the highest part of the Azov Upland. This is a gently undulating, monotonous plain with an elevation of between 200 and 250 m. Rising above the plain are mounds or mohyly, denudated remnants, composed of crystalline formations, that resisted erosion. They are oval-shaped, with gently sloping sides. The highest of these is Belmak-Mohyla or Horyla (327 m); others are Korsak-Mohyla, Tovmak-Mohyla (307 m), Mohyla Hancharykha, and Kamiani Mohyly, which rise 100 m or more over the surrounding plain. Burial mounds, erected throughout the ages, also cover the watershed. The slopes of the Azov Upland, and in particular the southern slopes, are dissected by rivers that cut deeply into the crystalline formations and create rapids and waterfalls. The river banks, gouged by ravines and gullies, make a picturesque granite landscape.

The climate of the Azov Upland is temperate-continental, similar to that of the neighboring Donets Ridge. Temperature and atmospheric precipitation (400-500 mm annually) depend also on the elevation of the locality. The soils are ordinary medium-humus and poor-humus chernozems. The natural vegetation is that of a mixed herbaceous, fescue-feather-grass steppe. The area is now almost entirely under cultivation. The original vegetation is preserved at the Kamiani Mohyly Nature Reserve.

Volodymyr Kubijovyč

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

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