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Kazakhstan

Geography, Weather, & Wildlife

Location & Geography

Kazakh Geography - Lake Almaty
Lake Almaty

Kazakhstan is a large landlocked country in the middle of Central Asia. Its only water access is to the Caspian Sea to its west, although this is often times considered a large lake as it has no access to the Ocean. Kazakhstan's land borders include Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan to the south, China to the east, and Russia to the north.

Kazakh Geography - Mountains
Mountains

Most of Kazakhstan is a slowly rising and lowering landscape called the steppe. The northern part of the country is relatively higher than the southern part of the country and moving north to south this slow decline continues until the country's southern border. Like the elevation decline, the land also moves from moist and fertile in the north to desert in the south. In the east there is more diversity as a couple mountain ranges cross the land, including the Altai Mountains. In the country's southwest the Aral Sea is slowly shrinking as its water sources have been diverted to create farming.

Weather

Kazakh Geography - Steppe
Steppe

Kazakhstan has a true continental climate with hot summers and bitterly cold winters. Summers, from about May to August tend to get the southern Middle Eastern weather patterns with daily averages of about 85° F (30° C), although days can get even hotter and nights tend to be cooler. Only the mountains are cooler than this and these areas at elevation create a welcomed retrieve from this heat. Winters (December to February) though are the opposite extreme as winds blow south from the Arctic and averages are as low as 0° F (-18° C) with day time highs only getting a bit warmer. Springs and falls (autumns) range drastically from year to year and month to month as the winds and temperatures shift between these two extremes.

Wildlife

Kazakhstan is a large and geographically diverse country, making it home to thousands of animal species. Among the mammals here are bears, ibex, gazelles, moose, deer, sable, and hundreds more, many of which are small rodents. The sea life is where the country lacks as it has a number of lakes and rivers, but not with as much diversity. Among the sea life, found both in the lakes and rivers as well as in the Caspian Sea are a number of fish and shellfish.

The bird life is more diverse than the mammals, partially because of the large number of migratory birds that pass through. Of the birds present, grouse, larks, turkey, vultures, partridges, storks, ducks, geese, heron, eagles, falcons, and finches are among the most common. There are few amphibians in the country and not a lot of reptiles either, but reptiles are more common in the more deserted parts of the country, including lizards and geckos. The country is also filled with insects and other animals, including snails, worms, and spiders.

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This page was last updated: March, 2013