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exclave and autonomous republic of Azerbaijan, in the southern part of the Transcaucasian plateau. It is bounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, and Turkey to the west. The republic, which is mostly mountainous except for a plain in the west and southwest, lies to the east and north of the middle Aras (Araks) River, which forms the frontier with Iran and Turkey. The region is subject to earthquakes, that of 1931 having been particularly severe. Winter temperatures in the dry continental climate average 20 to 24 F (-7 to -4 C); summer temperatures range from 75 to 84 F (24 to 29 C). The scarcity of precipitation on the plain (less than 20 inches [500 mm] annually) produces a steppe type of vegetation. In the mountains, where precipitation averages 25 to 30 inches (630 to 760 mm) annually, the flora is mountainous steppe, with dwarf oak and Iberian maple occurring in the upper valleys. Gray alluvial soils prevail in the plain, giving way above 3,300 feet (1,000 m) to brown and chestnut soils.