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The Land of Korea
Image of a typical countryside in the central highlands of Korea in the summertime.Korea is a beautiful land largely covered by mountains, as a glance at the photo to the right or at a topographic map will show. The main mountain range, the T'aebaek-san (san means "mountain" in Korean), covers most of North Korea and extends SSE through the east center of the peninsula. The highest peak is the dormant volcano Paektu-san on the Chinese border. The mountains are cut by many narrow river valleys, but the only wide valleys and plains are along the west coast. (As you look at photographs in this and other sections of the module, keep an eye out for mountains in the background. They are almost everywhere.) The ruggedness of the terrain is also reflected in the intricate pattern of different types and densities of plants seen on a satellite vegetation index mosaic.

The climate of Korea is not unlike that of the eastern United States, with hot wet summers and cold dry winters. The average summer and winter temperatures and rainfall are shown in the temperature and precipitation map. The combination of high topography and high rainfall in the North provides for ample hydroelectric power.

Korea is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, so every square inch is committed to some specific use. The land use map shows how the land is divided between wet and dry farming, forestry, and urban/industrial use. Can you see any correlation between the patchy distribution of different types of land use and the topography?

Another way of seeing Korea that complements the maps and photos shown in this section is to view it from space.

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