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This enormous land mass contains one third of all the land of the world, and is twice the size of North America, and nearly five times that of Europe. The peninsulas of Asia form one seventh of its area. Three of these extend from the mainland southward and are the largest peninsulas in the world.

The irregular coast.—These large projections and the numerous seas, gulfs, and bays give Asia a coast line of 43,500 miles, or one and three fourths the distance around the world at the equator. An enormous trade has been developed along the eastern and southeastern coasts, for these regions have almost no canals nor railroads. This trade for the most part is controlled by the merchants of China and Japan.

TOPICS FOR INVESTIGATION

1. Take your map to trace the boundaries of Asia and the trip

from Suez to the Bering Sea. 2. Which way would you move the hands of your timepiece in

setting it on this trip? 3. How many times would you have to change your watch in

crossing the United States from west to east? 4. In what zones does Asia lie? 5. With what other continent can you compare it in this respect?

SURFACE

The surface divisions of Asia are somewhat similar to those of Europe. The broad Siberian lowland is a continuation of the northern plain of Europe, although separated from it by the low Ural Mountains.

The Himalayas of Asia, under other names, extend westward, so there is a great highland from the Pyrenees Mountains to southeastern Asia. The three southern peninsulas of each continent are largely plateaus traversed by low mountain ranges with but few fertile valleys.

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Asia consists of mountains and high plateaus with their center in the Pamirs. The Pamirs are a series of barren, lofty mountain valleys of glacial formation. These valleys have been filled with deposits left by glaciers, so that they appear to the traveler as rolling hills and gravelly plains stretching away for miles and miles. They are buried deep in snow over half the year, are swept by winds and are destitute of fuel excepting dried manure or the roots of desert scrub. Can you wonder that this “roof of the world” has been called one of its least desirable portions? The Pamirs are about 12,000 feet above the sea.

Many ranges of high mountains rise above them to heights ranging from 15,000 to 25,000 feet, and spread out in four great unequal arms, dividing the continent into four parts. These parts are Northern Asia, Eastern Asia, Southern Asia, and Southwestern Asia. The highest of these dividing arms spread out from the Pamirs are the Himalayas, which extend along the north of India. These are pierced only by passes from 17,000 to 19,000 feet above the sea, over which the sure-footed yak is the only animal you can trust to carry your baggage safely. All around you are peaks towering from 23,000 to 29,000 feet, of which Mount Everest, the highest known mountain in the world, is one. Here too are many ranges, and more than forty peaks that are over four miles in height, or higher than our own Pike's Peak.

TOPICS FOR INVESTIGATION 1. Name and locate the southern peninsulas of Europe and compare

them in as many ways as you can with those of southern Asia. 2. Locate the Pamirs. What are they? How are they formed?

Name the mountain ranges that extend from them. 3. Locate Mount Everest. 4. Name and locate the mountains of southwestern Asia. Tell

the ones of which you have read in the Bible. 5. Prepare in writing to bring to class three more questions on RIVERS In the mountains and high plateaus of central Asia many rivers have their sources. From the margin of this great central highland they flow north, east, and south to the sea.

the surface of Asia.

Great waterways in cold lands.—The northern rivers flow across the vast Siberian plains to the Arctic Ocean and, though navigable for great distances, are not of much value for commerce. These rivers are so long from north to south that their head waters thaw out in the spring before their lower courses have melted. The result is that they pour down enormous volumes of water, which flood the country and do great damage. Even after the ice at the mouths has melted and the rivers are open for navigation, the waters fill the low places. forming swamps where thousands of mosquitoes breed and make life miserable for the hunter and explorer.

The southern and eastern rivers are great highways of trade, and are fertilizers and irrigators for lands which support millions of people. Their tremendous water power, which now often destroys life and property by floods, will in the future be harnessed and made to move machinery or light cities, as is done in Europe and North America. Some of this water power recently has been utilized in India to run cotton and jute mills.

Rivers that are land makers. These rivers are swift, with great erosive power in their upper courses, hence they carry down vast quantities of waste out of which flood plains are formed. With the exception of the Amur, which has its mouth in a sea frozen during the winter, and the Tigris and Euphrates, which lie in dry regions, the river valleys support dense populations. The best known of these rivers, with their millions of people on their banks or in boats on their waters, are the Hwang-ho, Yangtse, Brahmapootra, and Ganges; but there are many others of great importance to the natives.

On some of the flood plains, as those of the Indus, the Tigris, and the Euphrates, very ancient civilizations were developed.

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TOPICS FOR INVESTIGATION 1. Name and locate the three great rivers of the northern plain

of Asia. 2. With what river in Canada could you compare any

them? Make this comparison in three ways at least. 3. Find out which one of these rivers has a basin of more square

miles than the Missouri-Mississippi. Contrast these

two river basins as to usefulness to man. 4. Why are the sources of many rivers of this continent in the

mountains and high plateaus of central Asia? 5. Name and trace two rivers of China and three of the southern

plain. Tell why each is so useful to man and in what par

ticular way.

6. Locate three rivers of southwestern Asia on your map and tell

what you have learned about each one of them in your church school work.

LESSON III

LIFE AND ITS CONDITIONS IN ASIA

The character of both vegetable and animal life on a continent is determined in no small degree by its climate. Asia is not only a continent of contrasts of distances, altitudes, and waterways, but also of climates, and therefore of life forms as well.

CLIMATE

The climate of Asia represents all the varieties found in the world. If we travel from the cold, bleak plains of northern Asia along the Pacific slope, we pass through the great temperate grain belts of Manchuria and China, which remind us of the Dakotas or Minnesota, and also into regions noted for their tea, mulberry, and cotton trees, sugar cane and bamboo. From the subtropical area with its rice paddies worked by dark-skinned natives and water buffaloes, we pass into the jungle regions of Indo-China, Siam, Burma, and India, where strange plants and animals abound.

As we travel southwest of the Himalayas, over the barren plateaus bordering the Black and Caspian Seas, we suffer from extreme heat and lack of water. After crossing the great mountain wall, through the Khaibar Pass, we are in wind-swept Tibet, and have to endure extreme cold, although in the latitude of Kentucky. When we complete our circuit and are back in Siberia, we realize that the immense range of latitude and its high altitude affect Asia greatly. The distance of many places from the sea due to its vast extent of land and the number and direction of its mountain ranges, also add to the variety of climate.

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