Diversity and Wealth of the Municipality of Novi Bečej: Geographic Monograph with Overview of Natural Characteristics, Population, Economy, and Settlements

Explore the deeply rooted natural charms and economic potentials of the Municipality of Novi Bečej through a comprehensive geographical monograph. Familiarize yourself with fascinating aspects of the terrain, geology, climate, water bodies, flora, and fauna, while simultaneously delving into vibrant settlements and diverse industries. This informative book provides valuable insights into the richness of this unique Vojvodina region, offering a broad spectrum of information useful for education, regional planning, and preserving local identity.

Geomorphic Characteristics

The relief of the Novi Bečej subregion is characterized by all elements common to the relief of northern Banat and the larger part of Vojvodina. Morphologically, the municipality's territory consists of lowlands, with an absolute elevation ranging from 86 to 76 meters. The lowlands gently slope towards the west, i.e., towards the Tisa River basin, and towards the south, in the direction of the Tisa's flow. Throughout the entire area, there are very uneven elevation parameters of the relief. The lowest parts of the territory, with an absolute elevation ranging from 76 to 77 meters, include areas such as Ljutovo, Biserno Ostrvo, Libe, Pustara, and Medenjača. These parts of the borders are differently distributed within the regional unit. Higher absolute elevations are observed in the northeastern, eastern, and southeastern parts, which are farther away from the current course of the Tisa River. The areas of Selište and Livade stand out with the highest elevation, including Bika Humka and Peskovita Humka, reaching an absolute height of 86 meters.

In the study of the relief of Vojvodina, especially northern Banat, Dr. Branislav Bukurov identified two main geomorphological forms in this area: the loess terrace and the alluvial plain.

Loess Terrace

East of the Tisa River, equivalent to the Bačka loess terrace, is the Banat loess terrace. Morphologically, it is divided into four parts by Zlatica, Begej, and Tamiš: Novoknežava in the northern part of Banat, Novi Bečej where the municipality's territory is located, Zrenjanin in central Banat, and Pančevo in southern Banat. The Novi Bečej subregion extends only to the central and western parts of the Novi Bečej loess terrace. The northern boundary of this loess surface is formed by the alluvial plain of Zlatica, the western boundary by the alluvial plain of Tisa, and the southern boundary by the alluvial plain of Begej. The eastern boundary cannot be precisely determined, but conditionally it could be the state border with the People's Republic of Romania.

The loess terrace descends toward the alluvial plain of Tisa with gentle to sometimes steep sections. In the southern part of the Novi Bečej subregion, gentle sections of the loess terrace are characteristic, especially noticeable in the Novi Bečej border area. On the western side of the border, where the loess terrace approaches the Tisa River, the sections are usually very steep.

The difference in elevation between the loess terrace and the alluvial plain ranges from 2 to 8 meters. Since the Tisa no longer floods parts of the terrace during high water levels, this elevation difference is significant. Higher parts of the terrace, which are more drained and safer, were among the decisive factors in the formation of settlements and transportation routes in the municipality's territory. In the desire to utilize both morphological units, the loess terrace, and the alluvial plain, some settlements were built on the peripheral parts of the loess terrace for economic development. Novi Bečej is a typical example. The farmers in this settlement primarily use the arable land on the loess terrace for the production of the highest quality high-yielding varieties of wheat, corn, and other cereals, as well as industrial and forage crops. This type of arable production also supports the production of large livestock, primarily cattle and pigs. Residents use the lower, more humid areas of the alluvial plain for the production of wet crops, grazing livestock, and water-filled depressions for hunting and fishing.

Morphologically, the loess terrace represents a gently undulating surface. The larger and smaller depressions, remnants of the former course of the Tisa, influenced its surface appearance. Some depressions are completely filled, while others are partially filled with fluvial (river) and aeolian deposits. Among the micro-landforms on the loess terrace, numerous shallow and narrow depressions, "pits," are spread across the entire municipality's border area. Higher parts of the terrace extend between these micro-landforms, running parallel. These micro-relief forms have different orientations. In the central part of the border area, between Novi Bečej and Kumane, they have a north-south direction, while south and east of that area, they have a northeast-southwest direction. It is noticeable on the ground that the basic direction of these forms is concordant with the direction of the large depressions of the former meanders of the Tisa. Based on this surface relief appearance and the relief forms on the alluvial plain of the Tisa, which will be discussed separately, it can be determined with certainty that the Tisa flowed much farther east than its current course. Its course gradually shifted from east to west until it formed its present channel. Further geographical characteristics of this river will be discussed in the consideration of the hydrography of the Novi Bečej subregion.

Among the particularly characteristic microforms of relief are larger elevations, terraces, and hillocks. It was mentioned earlier that in the central part of the Novi Bečej border area, there is Bika Humka, and in the southeast, there is Peskovita Humka. Their absolute height is 96 meters. The exact formation of these elevations, also found in the borders of other Banat settlements, has not been entirely reliably determined. According to the opinions of earlier researchers, these may be equivalents of the loess plain or remnants of the so-called continental loess. It is assumed that in these places, during the deposition of loess, there was a significant natural barrier that retained a larger amount of deposited material.

In geological and petrographic terms, the loess terrace consists of subaerial and fluvial material. Larger amounts of fluvial and marshy admixtures are the result of prolonged water retention on these surfaces. The mixed subaerial, fluvial, and marshy material is rich in terrestrial and marsh fauna. All this confirms earlier assumptions that the material of the loess terrace accumulated in several stages, both on dry and marshy land.

The loess terrace on the surface is composed of redeposited and subaerial or typical loess. Redeposited loess covers the entire Banat loess terrace in Potisje. It is of similar composition to typical loess but contains a higher clay content. It is less porous, firmer, and less vertically fissured. Due to these properties, surface water lingers longer, forming ponds and marshes. In such places where humidity is higher, saltpeter emerges, and some parts of the terrace turn into saline areas. Saline oases are present in several locations in the Novi Bečej municipality's border area.

Alluvial Plain

The alluvial plain constitutes the second geomorphological unit of the Novi Bečej subregion. It extends west and southwest of the loess terrace. On its surface are parts of the municipality with the lowest absolute elevations of 76 meters. It gently slopes toward the riverbed of the Tisa.

The direction of the alluvial plain in this part of Potisje is north-south. The width of the plain varies, with the narrowest part near Novi Bečej, where the loess terrace approaches the Tisa, and it widens north and south of the municipality center. In some places, the width of the plain reaches several kilometers.

Like the loess terrace, the alluvial plain is gently undulating and intersected by recent river courses. Parts of these old and abandoned river courses have dried up or are only partially filled with deposits. In larger and deeper parts, there is always water, transforming them into lakes, ponds, and marshes. The abandoned parts of the riverbed have an arcuate shape and represent former meanders of the Tisa. Between these arcuate depressions, hills have formed, with the same orientation. They consist of muddy sand or humusy sandy loam.

The alluvial plain represents a fluvial formation, created by the work of fluvial erosion and accumulation. It is composed of sand, river silt, and clay. Various forms of erosion and accumulation have formed on the alluvial plain of the Tisa. Considering their expression and significance in the Novi Bečej subregion, special attention will be paid to some of them.

Among the erosive forms, meanders and oxbow lakes are characteristic, and their basic characteristics will be explained in the part of the study related to the hydrography of this region. Characteristic accumulation forms of the Tisa are flood ridges, riverbank hills, and river islands.

Flood ridges are widespread along the entire course of the Tisa in our country. They are occasionally expressed in the territory of the Novi Bečej subregion. Their formation is associated with high water levels of the Tisa. When this river overflows its banks, it deposits coarser material immediately next to the riverbed, while finer and lighter material is carried further away. Thus, Tisa builds natural embankments, reaching heights of up to 3 meters. These embankments are called flood ridges.

Later, due to the action of wind, i.e., the influence of aeolian erosion and accumulation, riverbank hills develop from flood ridges in some places. These are higher parts of the alluvial plain, safe from re-flooding, and some settlements have been built on them. A typical example in the Novi Bečej subregion is the riverbank hill on which the village of Kumane is built.

River islands are rarer accumulation forms of the Tisa. The cause of the small number of islands lies in unfavorable natural conditions for their formation. These include greater depth of the riverbed, an upper, thicker clay layer, and a lack of suitable material from which a larger number of islands could be created.

Among the small number of islands, which are in different stages of development, there was until recently a sandy island northwest of Novi Bečej. The Novi Bečej ada was a smaller island, connected to the Novi Bečej shore by a submerged underwater shoal. It was covered with dense vegetation. However, strong erosion from the northwest gradually reduced it. Now, there are no longer any traces of its existence.

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