Southwest Asian Highlands

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Southwest Asian Highlands


a group of highlands in West Asia extending from west to east for almost 4,000 km, with widths from 600 to 1,500 km. Their total area is more than 3.5 million sq km. The group includes the Asia Minor Highlands, the Armenian Highland, and the Iranian Plateau. In the west, on the Armenian Highland, and in the east, near the Pamir, the northern and southern bordering mountain arcs converge, forming regions of closely spaced folds. The interior areas are occupied by plateaus with elevations of 1,000–2,000 m, which often have no surface drainage and are framed by bordering mountains of 2,000–4,000 m in elevation. The outer, more humid, slopes of these mountains are covered with forests and shrubbery, while the interior slopes and plateaus have a desert-steppe appearance.

The climate is primarily subtropical and continental, with hot dry summers; significant summer precipitation falls only at the eastern edge of the Iranian Plateau, as a result of the Indian monsoon, and on the seaside northern slopes of the peripheral ranges. Winters are cool, with frosts occurring on the inner plateaus, and springs are wet. Shrub-steppe and desert formations on skeletal soils predominate in the vegetation. The prevailing landscapes are dry subtropical, dry tropical (in the south), and humid subtropical (in places on the outer mountain slopes).


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