Geography of Zhenia

From Themys Project
Geography of Zhenia
A map of Zhenia's elevation. Territories not part of Zhenia have been intentionally omitted.
ContinentTarsis
RegionEast Tarsis
Area
 • Total4,510,034.13 km2 (1,741,333.91 sq mi)
 • Land98.45%
 • Water1.55%
BordersKordalsam, Yinguo
Highest pointMount Tanchelungar
8,782.8 m
Lowest pointLake Payang
-56 m
Longest riverTaimir River
5,429 km
Largest lakeLake Payang
1,788.93 km2
ClimateGenerally temperate and continental climate, arid/semi-arid in west, alpine tundra in the central-western mountains; monsoon-influenced temperate climate in the central and east coasts, subtropical in the south
TerrainMountains in center-west and southwest and along the Danguk Peninsula, plains in the center, hills in the south
Natural Resourcesarable land, coal, iron ore, bauxite, uranium, petroleum, natural gas, rare-earth minerals, timber
Natural Hazardsearthquakes, floods, forest fires, typhoons, landslides
Environmental Issuesair pollution, water pollution, desertification, deforestation, soil erosion

Zhenia is a nation located on the eastern coasts of the continent of Tarsis in Themys and facing the Hanmaric Ocean. Due to its large territorial assets spanning throughout East Tarsis, Zhenia's geography shows great physical diversity, ranging from fertile lowlands and foothills found along the Golden Arch, to the semi-arid basins, mountains and plateaus in the west. Due to differences in terrain and climate, a vast majority of the nation's population and agriculture are focused in eastern and central Zhenia, most notably along the coasts of the Golden Arch and the Central Zhenian Plains.

Zhenia's borders are defined by the Cheonsan and Taiqihar Mountains to the west, the Baekryong River to the north, the Namak and Eunsan mountains to the south, while it has a maritime border facing the Hanmaric Ocean to its east. Zhenia's geography is further characterized by the existence of the Jinsan and Bukdu Mountains, which act as natural barriers separating northern Zhenia and the Danguk Peninsula respectively from the remainder of the nation. Several major rivers, including the Taimir and Weisu rivers, also serve as natural boundaries that demarcate the regions of Zhenia. It is the existence of major mountain ranges, however, that primarily indicate major changes in overall topography and landscape: arid plains, plateaus and rocky deserts dominate the landscape in western and parts of northern Zhenia, while the Central Zhenian Plains and the Western Dan Plains extend south from such mountains to the Golden Arch. Zhenia's geography as a whole has considerably influenced the nation's agriculture, industry and demographics, most evident by the high concentration of urban and metropolitan areas along the Golden Arch and the Central Zhenian Plains.

Area

Tectonics

Geology

Physical regions

Regional categorization

Zhenia is physically and culturally classified into five relatively homogeneous macroregions - northern, eastern, central, southern and western Zhenia, mostly separated by natural boundaries comprising of mountain ranges rivers. While such regions are mostly homogeneous in terrain, climate and landscape, the topography among such macroregions can remain diverse, ranging from snow-capped mountains and plateaus, winding rivers and sandy dunes to broad basins, extending plains and mountainous forest. Generally, the west is more mountainous and higher in elevation than the east, although the general direction is the opposite in the Danguk Peninsula.

Eastern Zhenia

Danguk Peninsula

Mount Shindan's peak, at 3,816.4 meters, is the highest mountain in the Danguk Peninsula.
Although mostly mountainous in nature, the eastern portion of the Danguk Peninsula tends to be lower in elevation than most of the Bukdu Mountains.

Eastern Zhenia normally refers to the Danguk Peninsula and surrounding islands, although some definitions expand its domain to include the Haedong Islands to the east of the peninsula. Facing the Golden Arch to the west, the Strait of Dan to the south and the East Zhenian Sea to its east, eastern Zhenia is characterized by its relatively mountainous terrain and adequately temperate climate. Forming the eastern axis of the Golden Arch region, it is also home to a high percentage of Zhenian inhabitants, with the region alone being home to over a third of the nation's population as a whole.

Running from northwest to southeast, the Bukdu Mountains, starting from the Musudan Highlands, is the most defining geographical feature in eastern Zhenia, aside from the Haedong Islands. The Bukdu Mountains form the backbone of the peninsula and demarcate the Danguk Peninsula's western and eastern halves, although it is somewhat slanted to the peninsula's eastern coasts than the west. Although elevation levels can vary among the mountain range, the northern parts of the Bukdu Mountains tend to be taller and rugged. Northern parts of the Bukdu Mountains are often higher than 2,000 meters and are rugged in terrain, with the highest peak being the now-dormant volcano Mount Shindan in northeastern Songhwa Province at 3,816.4 meters. While there are also year-round snow-capped major peaks in the south, mountains tend to be far milder in the south, with the elevation rarely surpassing 1,500 meters in the southern half of the peninsula. Precipitation patterns are relatively even and steady throughout the peninsula, despite some variations in annual precipitation due to local topography. Steady precipitation in the mountains is the source of several smaller rivers and brooks - a majority of the westbound rivers form a larger, interconnected river network centered around the Danbon River and ultimately run out to the Golden Arch, while most eastbound rivers directly run out to sea rather than wind through the coastal regions.

Due to the east-slanted nature of the Bukdu Mountains, alluvial plains in the Danguk Peninsula are more common in the western half of the peninsula. The Bukdu Mountains give way to a lava plateau characterizing most of the northwestern Danguk Peninsula, also referred to as the Songhwa Plains. South of the Songhwa Plains lie the Western Dan Plains, which consists of low-lying alluvial plains between the peninsula's western coast and the Bukdu Mountains, accompanied by a network of interconnected rivers centered around the Danbon River. While a vast majority of regional precipitation ends up in the Danbon River, it is also accompanied by smaller rivers, including the Yeongdong and Daegeum rivers. Due to its nature of being connected to the existence of the Danbon River watershed, some limit the boundaries of the Western Dan Plains to the Danbon River watershed and consider the alluvial coastal plains of of other rivers as separate plain regions. Compared to the peninsula's western coast, its southern and eastern coasts tend to be more mountainous in nature, with smaller pockets of coastal and alluvial plains found sporadically. Due to its relatively mountainous terrain, rias are common through the coastline, with multiple islands and peaks found near the coastline.

The Haedong Islands were formed mainly by extensive volcanic activity dating back over a million years ago, while low levels of volcanic activity are seen to this day in some islands.

Haedong Islands

The Haedong Islands refer to an archipelago of islands extending southeast from the northeastern edge of the Danguk Peninsula. The Haedong Islands consist of 298 volcanic islands and surrounding islands spanning over 750 kilometers, although seven islands - Geumhae, Kumo, Seosu, Geosa, Namban, Gunma and Haenam, from northwest to southeast - are considered major islands within the archipelago. They are often grouped with the adjacent Yuldo Islands to its south, due to its geological and geographical similarities. The archipelago itself was formed as a result of centuries volcanic activity at a tectonic hot spot several million years ago during the Cenozoic Era. With the bedrock of the islands consisting primarily of lava and later sediments, parts of the archipelago have been dubbed some of the most fertile places in Zhenia, although its basalt-rich geology and mountainous terrain resulted in little flatland for cultivation. Volcanic land forms, such as lesser volcanic cones, volcanic caves and columnar joints, tend to be common throughout the archipelago. While most volcanic islands in the archipelago have been dormant, some remain active to this day.

The Baekryong River, which also marks a portion of Zhenia's northern border, flows through most of the North Zhenian Plains.

Northern Zhenia

Coniferous forests cover a considerable amount of terrain in northern Zhenia.

The macroregion of northern Zhenia stretches from the edges of the Taiqihar and Jinsan Mountains to Zhenia's northern border along the Baekryong River and the East Zhenian Sea, extending as south as the Solbin River. Northern Zhenia includes great physical diversity, ranging from the North Zhenian Plains formed around and including the Baekryong River basin, the Taiqihar, Sochihar and Jinsan Mountains, the Donghae Ranges and the Musudan Highlands in the northeast.

The Taiqihar Mountains primarily form the physical boundary between northern and western Zhenia. Along with the Cheonsan Mountains, the Taiqihar Mountains are also some of the most defining geographical features in the nation, with its higher points reaching up to over 4,500 meters in elevation. Being situated on the northwestern boundary of the Zhenian Plate, the Taiqihar Mountains are characterized by their sharp ascent, high altitude and year-round snow. Glaciers fill the valleys of the higher peaks, fueled by seasonal rain that makes its way beyond the Jinsan and Sochihar Mountains. Glaciers and meltwater from the Taiqihar Mountains become the source of many rivers in northern and central Zhenia, most notably the Weisu and Baekryong Rivers. Glacial landforms, including U-shaped valleys and moraine, are highly common in the Taiqihar Mountains. The Sochihar Mountains branch out from the eastern edge of the Taiqihar Mountains, although they vary considerably in their geological composition and form. Being millions of years older than the Taiqihar Mountains, the Sochihar Mountains are far lower in elevation, with its highest peak, Mount Karadur, reaching only 2,057.3 meters in height. While feeding several smaller rivers that become tributaries to the Weisu and Baekryong Rivers, the Sochihar Mountains form the northern boundary of seasonal monsoon patterns influencing most of mainland Zhenia, demarcating Zhenia between abundant seasonal monsoon rain to its south and taigas and semi-arid steppes to its north. The Jinsan Mountains are similar to the Sochihar Mountains in elevation and geological composition, separated primarily by the Northern Wei Valley and the Weisu Basin.

Cape Mansudo, which marks the end of the Donghae Ranges, is also Zhenia's northernmost point.

North of the Taiqihar, Sochihar and Bukdu Mountains lie the North Zhenian Plains, a mixed region covered by both semi-arid steppes and coniferous forests. Mainly consisting of the Baekryong River basin, the North Zhenian Plains are characterized by little changes in elevation and significant changes in precipitation patterns, which dictate the differences in climate in the region. Trees become taller and more coniferous as one goes further east and closer to the Donghae Ranges, while trees tend to be scarce as one goes further inland west. The North Zhenian Plains are also home to Lake Payang, the largest freshwater lake in the nation spanning over 1,788.93 square kilometers. Most of the North Zhenian Plains have been traditionally home to pastoralists, although parts of the region along the Baekryong River have been traditionally agricultural in nature.

The Donghae Ranges, extending from the eastern edges of the North Zhenian Plains to Cape Mansudae, demarcate the plains from temperate coastal region facing the East Zhenian Sea. Although not high in elevation compared to other mountain ranges in northern Zhenia, the Donghae Ranges add to the rain shadow effect in most of northern Zhenia, resulting in the northeastern coastal regions of Zhenia receiving the highest amounts of precipitation in the nation. A notable geographic feature in the Donghae Ranges region is the Solbin Basin, a patch of coastal flatland extending southeast of the mountain ranges. Lesser rivers flowing from the Donghae Ranges are part of the watershed of the Solbin River, which flows east and empties in the East Zhenian Sea after starting from the Bukdu Mountains.

The Central Zhenian Plains cover much of central Zhenia, stretching almost directly from the Cheonsan Mountains to the Gulf of Danguk.

Central Zhenia

Tracts of the Taimir River, the longest river in the nation, form gorges as it makes way east to the Gulf of Danguk.

Central Zhenia comprises of the area between the Jinsan Mountains, the Taimir River and the Weisu River. With the exception of the Yangzhu Mountains extending from the Cheonsan Mountains to form the Sobek Valley in its west, most of central Zhenia overlaps with the Central Zhenian Plains, a broad expanse of alluvial and flood plains that are primarily a part of the Taimir River Basin. The existence of the Central Zhenian Plains has resulted in the region being home to large expanses of arable land, with very few mountains throughout the basin. Steep drops in elevation in the western edges of central Zhenia are observed, as the region transitions from the Sobek Valley and the Jinsan Mountains into the plains. Central Zhenia is primarily responsible for the general connotation of Zhenia's topography being 'high in the west, low in the east'.

Most of central Zhenia is part of the Taimir River basin and its tributaries, most notably the Cheonma River. While the Taimir River itself originates from the Cheonsan Mountains, the Cheonma River originates from the eastern edges of the Jinsan Mountains and further makes its way south until it merges with the Taimir River in present-day Donggwang Province. The rivers accumulate significant amounts of sand and other depositions from the mountains, resulting in the formation of several alluvial fans near the edges of the plains. Historical periodic flooding of many of the Taimir's tributaries have resulted in the plains being highly fertile in nature, allowing for the transport and proliferation of sediment from far inland.

Southern Zhenia

Limestone karst landscape observed along the tributaries of the Chang River, in Taehwa Province.

Southern Zhenia is a macroregion comprising of the area between the Taimir River and Zhenia's southern border with Yinguo, which are physically formed by the Namak Mountains and Eunsan Ranges. Although the southern Zhenia macroregion has historically included portions of the Nam-Se Valley and extended south to the Chang River, the definition of the macroregion has been adjusted according to modern borders. Thus, some definitions of southern Zhenia also includ eregions north of the Taimir, most notably the regions corresponding to present-day Imhae and Changbaek provinces.

Extending southeast from the Cheonsan Mountains are the Namak Mountains, which both separate Zhenia from Yinguo and demarcate the watersheds of the Taimir and Chang River. Just north of the Namak Mountains are the southern portion of the Taimir River basin, a densely cultivated region that is the southern extension of the Central Zhenian Plains. Several small rivers, most of them tributaries of the Taimir, make their way north into the Taimir, carving out the limestone terrain into karst landforms commonly sighted in the region.

The Balhae Peninsula and the Eunsan Ranges are another major geographical feature found in southern Zhenia. The peninsula extends to the east, closing the Golden Arch alongside the Danguk Peninsula to its north. The Eunsan Ranges, consisting of older mountains with elevations between 1,000 and 2,500 meters, form the backbone of the peninsula, while branches of the mountain range cover a significant portion of the peninsula: the existence of the Eunsan Ranges have resulted in the Balhae Peninsula being mountainous in nature. The Namak Mountains and Eunsan Ranges are narrowly separated by the Haeha Pass, a 37-kilometer valley in which the Zhenian-Yinguonese border runs through today. Most of the Balhae Peninsula, however, remains mostly arable, due to the existence of wide coastal plains in the northern and southern coasts of the peninsula. The peninsula is adjoined by the Taimir River Delta to its northern edge, with the Eunsan Mountains serving as another demarcation for the Taimir's watershed.

Western Zhenia

The Daeseo Desert in northwestern Zhenia remains the largest desert in the nation.
Mount Tanchelungar, the highest point in the nation at 8,782.8 meters, is located in the Cheonsan Mountains in western Zhenia.

Western Zhenia spans from the Taiqihar and Jinsan Mountains in the north to the Cheonsan Mountains to the west, the Namak Mountains to the south and the Sobek Valley to the east. Despite the Weisu River flowing through the region, the area surrounded by the Cheonsan, Taiqihar and Jinsan Mountains are referred to as the Sahaetan Basin, which is regarded as one of the most arid regions in Zhenia. The region is home to the Daeseo Desert, a cold desert that receives the smallest amounts of precipitation in the nation, due to the combined rain shadow created by the three mountains. The region is also home to the highest recorded temperatures in Zhenian history at 48.9 C recorded on July 30, 1581. Salt lakes, dried-up lake beds and rocky landforms are highly common in the Daeseo Desert, which roughly corresponds to modern-day Shingang Province today.

Another notable geographical feature in western Zhenia is the Cheonsan Mountains, which run throughout most of Zhenia's western border with Kordalsam and ultimately separate eastern and central Tarsis. Extending south from the Taiqihar Mountains and with an average elevation of over 3,500 meters, the Cheonsan Mountains are home to some of the highest peaks in the nation, with the highest peak being Mount Tanchelungar at 8,782.8 meters. Due to its elevation, significant portions of it are covered in snow year-round, the meltwaters of which feed into several notable rivers in east Tarsis, including the Taimir and Chang Rivers. The terrain surrounding the Cheonsan Mountains descend around the ranges like a terrace, often involving stark, somewhat discontinued contrasts in elevation. It is also the primary cause of the rain shadow effect found in most parts of central Tarsis, resulting in stark contrasts in annual precipitation between eastern and central Tarsis.

Extreme Points

Zhenia's highest point is in Mount Tanchelungar at 8,782.8 meters, located in the Cheonsan Mountains in western Zhenia. Situated near Zhenia's western border with Kordalsam, it is also the highest peak within the Cheonsan Mountains and is considered among the highest peaks in Tarsis as a whole. In contrast, Zhenia's lowest point is Lake Payang, which is also the nation's largest freshwater lake, in northeastern Zhenia, at 56 meters below sea level. The nation's northernmost point, at 53.56° N, is cape Mansudo in Bukhae Province, while its southernmost point is Zhushan Bay in Balhae Province at 22.21° S, on its border with Yinguo. Its westernmost point is Mount Tamalgar at 90.31° E on its border with Kordalsam, whereas its easternmost point is Manri Island in Haedong Province at 129.98° E.

Climate

Koppen climate map of Zhenia.

Zhenia is home to a highly diverse climate, due to tremendous differences in latitude, longitude and altitude throughout its territory. Spanning between the latitude lines of 20.8° and 52.6° N, Zhenia's climate spectrum runs from hot and extremely humid in the south to cold in the northeast, as well as humid in the east along the coastline to dry in the west, resulting in a climate that ranges from tropical in the south, subarctic in the northeast and desert in the west. Polar and alpine microclimates are also observed in pockets of the Cheonsan Mountains, as well as in the peaks of the Saghan and Jinsan Mountains. Climate in much of Zhenia a result of continental interaction with seasonal winds and monsoons, bringing in a yearly oscillatory cycle of dry seasons and wet monsoons, in which a bulk of annual precipitation is highly concentrated in certain months of the year. Warm and moist air from the Hanmaric Ocean results in high precipitation and typhoons during the summer season, while the cold and dry continental air from the north dominates the winter season with cold weather and far less precipitation.

Zhenia's climate is significantly influenced by fluctuating patterns of monsoon winds: during the summer, warm and moist air from the Hanmaric Ocean is carried by the East Tarsic Monsoon, delivering the vast majority of the annual precipitation in most of Zhenia. Inversely, in the winter, the Central Tarsic anticyclone, coupled with the relocation of the polar jet stream from Aday to northern and central Zhenia, results in cold and drier conditions throughout the nation. The advance and retreat of monsoon winds, as well as the interaction of local and regional air masses with jet streams, largely explain the general direction of climate patterns throughout the nation. Climate patterns of the nation as a whole is rather complex, although most of the nation is situated and heavily influenced by the temperate belt.

While absolute amounts of concentrations vary drastically from region to region, with arid regions such as the Daeseo Desert receiving an average of 25 mm of precipitation each year while southern regions of the Balhae Province receive an average of 2,600 mm of precipitation of each year. Hence, high deviations in average annual precipitation by region are observed: the average precipitation in eastern Zhenia is around 1,500 mm per year, while western Zhenia on average receives 240 mm of precipitation each year. Precipitation throughout most of Zhenia is also concentrated over a few months of the year rather than being spread out throughout the entire year, with an average of 72% of the nation's precipitation in the four months spanning the summer season. Precipitation in arid regions to the north and west also show seasonal fluctuations but are relatively evenly distributed than the east.

In recent years, however, climate change has played a prominent role in changing temperature and precipitation patterns throughout the nation as a whole, resulting in more extreme weather conditions to happen more frequently and intensely than before. Climate change has been pointed as the primary reason behind the spike in forest fires and storm weather in eastern and northern Zhenia. Changing precipitation patterns has also resulted in extensive desertification in western Zhenia, with ever-diminishing steppe areas and often resulting in more dust storms in central and eastern Zhenia.

Natural disasters

Earthquakes

With its Cheonsan and Taiqihar Mountains being situated on major fault lines, parts of western Zhenia see occasional earthquakes as a result of tectonic activity.

Volcanic activity

Mount Honghwa in the Haedong Islands, despite being somewhat dormant, is so far the most likely for any volcanic activity in the near future.

Despite its location near active plate boundaries, Zhenia is home to only a handful of active volcanoes that have been active in the past 300 years, almost all of which are focused in the Haedong Islands. The most notable volcano among them is Mount Honghwa, which is also the highest peak in the archipelago. While there have been no life-threatening eruptions within the past 100 years due to the distance of active volcanoes from major populated areas, the most recent major eruption of an active volcano in Zhenia occurred in 1581, during the eruption of Mount Honghwa. The Ministry of the Interior, in tandem with the Ministry of the Environment, has been overseeing volcanic activities of both active and dormant volcanoes throughout the nation since 1564, while all signs of volcanic activity was formally included into the nation's emergency alert network since 1585. As of 1610, Mount Honghwa is considered the most likely location for volcanic activity within Zhenia.

There are other less likely locations for future volcanic activity, the most notable one being Mount Shindan. Since its last recorded eruption in 1304, there have been no eruptions from Mount Shindan, effectively categorizing it as a dormant volcano. Significant increases in seismic movement throughout the surrounding Songhwa Plateau and the Musudan Highlands in recent years, however, have resulted in increased attention towards designating it as an active volcano. While the actual risk of volcanic eruption in Mount Shindan is said to be very low, the geological characteristics of the mountain, including the existence of a significant caldera and the sheer size of the volcano, poses a non-negligible threat to the surrounding region. Amid such concerns, Mount Shindan was included in the Ministry of the Interior's emergency alert network, any signs of it volcanic activity being paid close attention at the national level.

Typhoons

In much of mainland Zhenia and the Danguk Peninsula, a bulk of the annual precipitation is focused in the summer seasons, a considerable portion of which often comes at the form of typhoons, which originate in the West Hanmaric Ocean and make their way westward before turning clockwise to the north to the East Zhenian Sea. While Central and Southern Zhenia tend to be more affected by typhoons in June and July, more typhoons tend to pass through the Danguk Peninsula and the Haedong Islands in August and September due to seasonal variations in wind speeds.

In theory, almost all of Zhenia's coastline can be at risk of typhoons; however, while most typhoons normally affected mainland Zhenia and the areas surrounding the Gulf of Danguk, recent trends since the late 1590s have seen increased frequency of typhoons making way further northeast, increasing the risks of flooding and significant property damage in the area. There have been increased concerns regarding the rise of surface temperature in the West Hanmaric Ocean, as well as varying patterns of temperature oscillation in the Hanmaric Ocean in general, in fear that such factors are contributing to stronger typhoons.

Flooding and droughts

Desertification

Human geography

Population distribution

A map of Zhenia's total population distribution, with greener colors indicating higher concentrations of population. Higher concentrations of population around the Golden Arch region and the Central Zhenian Plains is worth noting.

Zhenia is a densely-populated nation, with total population of around 589.6 million and a population density of around 130.75 people per square kilometer. The distribution patterns of a vast majority of the population, however, generally follow the distribution of arable land. The Bukju-Munsan Line, dividing Zhenia from northeast to southwest, effectively explains the correlation of arable land and population distribution - around 96% of the nation's entire population lives east of the line, while only 4 percent reside west of the line. Over half of the nation's population reside in the Golden Arch region, despite the region itself accounting for less than a quarter of the nation's total land area; the Central Zhenian Plains region, due to it being home to much of Zhenia's arable land, account for around 40 percent of the nations' population. In contrast, western Zhenia, mainly consisting of the provinces of Shingang and Heuksu, account for a mere 1.5% of the total population, despite being roughly the same size as the Golden Arc region. Most metropolitan areas and megalopolises are found along the Golden Arch and within the Central Zhenian Plains, with the most prominent areas being the Greater Capital Area in the western Danguk Peninsula and the Taimir Delta Megalopolis centered around Jinhae and Balhae Province.

Ethnic groups

Administrative geography

Zhenia's administrative geography took its current form during the nation's administrative reforms after the November Revolution, which clarified the nation's top-level administrative subdivisions into 30 provinces, 2 metropolitan municipalities and one special city, which are further divided into prefecture-level, municipality-level and township-level areas. While the nation is nominally divided into five larger regions, they are rarely used outside demographic statistical contexts and are not recognized as formal administrative subdivisions. Borders between top-level administrative subdivisions have remained more or less the same since the last reform in 1577, although changes in prefecture-level and municipality-level areas have been observed continuously.

Land use and agriculture

Around 39 percent of Zhenia's land is considered arable, taking topography and climate into account. The concentration of arable land throughout the nation is high in the coastal plains surrounding the Golden Arch, as well as the Central Zhenian Plains and parts of the Weisu River basin.

Environment

Wildlife

See Also