Central European Plain

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Central European Plain


a plain in Europe, mostly occupied by northern Poland, the German Democratic Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Denmark. The Central European Plain is bounded on the north by the North and Baltic seas and on the south by the mountains and highlands of Hercynian Europe. From west to east the plain is roughly 600 km long with widths between 200 and 500 km; predominant elevations are 50–100 (more than 300 m in certain morainic ridges). The plain is composed primarily of limestones and sandstones covered by glacial deposits (morainic ridges, outwash plains).

The climate is temperate, transitional between maritime and continental. The mean January temperature ranges from –1° to –3°C in the west and from –2° to –4°C in the east. The mean July temperature is 17°-19°C. The annual precipitation decreases from 800 to 500 mm as one moves from west to east. The snow cover is sporadic in the west but lasts 1 Vi to two months in the east.

There is a dense network of rivers (Oder, Elbe, Weser, Rhine, and other river basins); the plain also has many glacier lakes. The predominant soils are brown forest soils and podzols. The natural vegetation, oak-beech forests in the west and mixed forests in the east, has been largely cleared or replaced by conifers. Heaths and bogs occur in the north, and there are meadows in the river valleys. Grain crops and sugar beets are cultivated, and livestock is raised.

The region is densely populated and includes the following cities: Poznan (Poland), Berlin (German Democratic Republic), West Berlin (a special political unit), Hamburg, Bremen, Hanover, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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