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Kazakhstan Geography 1999

    Location: Central Asia, northwest of China

    Geographic coordinates: 48 00 N, 68 00 E

    Map references: Commonwealth of Independent States

    total: 2,717,300 sq km
    land: 2,669,800 sq km
    water: 47,500 sq km

    Area—comparative: slightly less than four times the size of Texas

    Land boundaries:
    total: 12,012 km
    border countries: China 1,533 km, Kyrgyzstan 1,051 km, Russia 6,846 km, Turkmenistan 379 km, Uzbekistan 2,203 km

    Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
    note: Kazakhstan borders the Aral Sea, now split into two bodies of water (1,070 km), and the Caspian Sea (1,894 km)

    Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

    Climate: continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid

    Terrain: extends from the Volga to the Altai Mountains and from the plains in western Siberia to oases and desert in Central Asia

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Vpadina Kaundy -132 m
    highest point: Zhengis Shingy (Pik Khan-Tengri) 6,995 m

    Natural resources: major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium

    Land use:
    arable land: 12%
    permanent crops: 11%
    permanent pastures: 57%
    forests and woodland: 4%
    other: 16% (1996 est.)

    Irrigated land: 22,000 sq km (1996 est.)

    Natural hazards: earthquakes in the south, mudslides around Almaty

    Environment—current issues: radioactive or toxic chemical sites associated with its former defense industries and test ranges are found throughout the country and pose health risks for humans and animals; industrial pollution is severe in some cities; because the two main rivers which flowed into the Aral Sea have been diverted for irrigation, it is drying up and leaving behind a harmful layer of chemical pesticides and natural salts; these substances are then picked up by the wind and blown into noxious dust storms; pollution in the Caspian Sea; soil pollution from overuse of agricultural chemicals and salination from faulty irrigation practices

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

    Geography—note: landlocked

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)