The Urals extend 2500 km from the Kazakh steppes along the northern border of Kazakhstan to the coast of the Arctic ocean. The island of Novaya Zemlya forms a further continuation of the chain. Geologically this range marks the northern part of the border between the continents of Europe and Asia. Its highest peak is Naroda Mountain (Poznurr, 1895 m). Erosion has exposed considerable mineral wealth in the Urals, including gems such as Topaz and Beryl. The Virgin Komi Forests in the northern Urals is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.
The Urals were formed in the late Carboniferous period, when a continent consisting largely of Siberia collided with the supercontinent that contained much of the world's land at the time: the combination of Laurussia (Europe and North America) and Gondwana. Europe and Siberia have remained joined together ever since.
Geographers have divided the Urals into five regions: South, Middle, North, Subarctic and Arctic Urals. So the Ural Mountains were formed by tectonic plates.