Geography of Turkey

Turkey lies within the Alpine-Himalayan mountain belt. More than 75% of the land lies at elevations above 500 m (1,640 ft), and the average elevation is 1,100 m (3,600 ft). Turkey is one of the most active earthquake regions in the world. The Arabian, African, Eurasian Aegean, and Turkish plates all converge in Turkish territory, resulting in severe seismic and volcanic activity.

The country may be divided into four physical regions: the central Anatolian plateau and surrounding mountains, the eastern highlands, the Aegean coastland, and Thrace.

The central Anatolian plateau is separated from the coastal lowlands by the Pontic Mountains in the north and the TAURUS MOUNTAINS in the south.

The Pontic Mountains increase in height toward the east, where their highest peak, Kackar Dagi (3,937 m/12,917 ft), is found.

The Taurus Mountains rise to 3,734 m (12,251 ft) in the Ala Dag chain. Composed mainly of limestone, they have caves, underground streams, and potholes. Small glaciers are found in the eastern sections of both the Taurus and Pontic ranges.

The central plateau is composed of uplifted blocks and down folded troughs. Shallow salt lakes--Lake Tuz is the largest--and geologically young volcanic features characterize the landscape.

The eastern highlands are dotted with peaks reaching elevations of 3,000-4,500 m (10,000-15,000 ft) and surrounded by high lava-covered plateaus. The highest of the peaks is Mount ARARAT (Agri Dagi; 5,122 m/16,804 ft), in the extreme east.

Vast stretches of the highlands consist of barren waste. Lake VAN is a large salt lake with underground connections to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, whose headwaters rise in the nearby mountains.

The Aegean coastland is an area of elongated mountain ridges cut by steep valleys. Thrace comprises a central plain of rolling terrain surrounded by mountains of moderate height.




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