No. 143—Kola Peninsula

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At Russia’s extreme northwest lies the unforgiving terrain of the Kola Peninsula. Lying almost entirely within the Arctic circle, the peninsula is a place of extremes: mountainous in the north, and flat in the south, the retreat of ancient glaciers ground down significant portions of the peninsula—as well as much of its soil. What the region lacks in plants, or the ability to grow crops, it makes up for in abundant mineral wealth. The region is rich in copper, nickel, and other ores as well as rare earths, gold, and platinum group metals.