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Geography, Weather, & Wildlife
Location & Geography
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.
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.
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.
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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