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Semi-deserts of Central Kazakhstan.

Photos of the desert of Kazakhstan.

“In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over I”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Bird-watching in Central Kazakhstan.

The steppe zone of Central Kazakhstan mainly belongs to the Irtysh basin, and only the Nura River in the very south of the zone, carrying its waters into the Tengiz Kurgaldzhinskaya depression, belongs to the Central Asian region of internal flow.
True, many rivers rushing to the Irtysh do not convey their waters to it and end in small closed lakes in the south of the West Siberian Plain. Due to the continentality and dryness of the climate of the river is shallow.
Most of them dry up in summer or break up into ridges connected by an underground stream in river alluvium, and only the largest ones (Tobol in the far northwest, Ishim, Nura, Shiderty, Selty) retain water throughout the year.
Drain mode lawsuit the rivers of Central Kazakhstan are not navigable, but are of great importance as a source of water supply. There are many lakes on the territory of the Kazakh High Mountain Range and the Turgai Plateau within the steppe zone (Kushmurun, Koibagar, Karasor, a group of Kokchetav and Borovskiye lakes).
The origin of lake basins varied. There are basins of tectonic origin. There are small sedimentary basins. Small lakes are widespread, formed by streams of water flowing from the slopes of the hills. Many lakes in the river valleys. According to A. E. Mikhailov, part of them originated in river valleys crossed across by tectonic uplifts with anticline folds.
The river erosion weakened in the conditions of arid climate could not saw through the obstacles that had arisen. Lakes, as well as rivers, receive the main power in the spring due to the melting of snow. In the summer they become shallow.
Fluctuations in the level of lakes are associated with fluctuations in precipitation. The degree of mineralization of lake waters varies with seasons, reaching a maximum in summer. Many lakes gradually become shallow and overgrown.
There are so-called grass lakes, only in spring they fill with water, and in summer they are used as hayfields. Various salts are mined in lakes, in some places - curative mud. Rivers and lakes due to the extreme unevenness of the regime cannot serve as a reliable source of water supply.
However, on the rivers it is possible to build artificial reservoirs fed by the discharge of melted snow water. There are two types of groundwater in the Kazakh Hills: fracture and reservoir, and at the Turgai Plateau - reservoir.
Fissure waters are confined to Paleozoic rocks. Their abundance is due to the presence of tectonic faults. The most abundant granitoids and limestones. Limestone strata contain cracks karst and karst waters, especially characteristic of limestone of Upper Devonian and Lower Carboniferous.
Nutrition of fissure waters is carried out mainly due to infiltration of thawed snow waters, therefore the maximum costs are observed in spring, and in the rest of the year the expenses of sources fall. Freshwater is quite suitable for use.
Filtered through gravelly sediment, water can salty. The steppe zone is divided into two zones: forb grass cereal chernozem steppes and grass steppes on dark chestnut soils. Under the zone, the forb grasses of chernozem steppes occupy the northernmost part of the Kazakh Hills and Turgai Plateau.
High summer temperatures cause a large loss of moisture to evaporation, which causes a significant dryness of the soil. In the Kazakh Upland, the dryness of the soil is aggravated by the rubble of soils that easily filter moisture.
Only in the north, in the Kokchetav province of Central Kazakhstan, ordinary chernozems are common, while the main background of the soil cover of the zone is formed mainly by carbonate southern chernozems, which are formed under forb grass fescue communities.
Within the zone of dry steppes in the Kazakh small mountain area, the phenomenon of altitudinal zonality is also observed. On the rocky tops of lowlands, pines grow with grass from steppe species. Near groundwater outcrops there are aspen birch groves.
Gentle slopes are occupied by mixed grassy steppes on mountain black soil, with a predominance of red grass. The fauna of the steppe zone contains many rodents: a large ground squirrel (Citellus major), a large jerboa (Allactaga jaculus), a hare (Alactagulus acontion), (Scirtopoda telum), a little hare (Ellobius talpinus), various voles (Microtus gregalis) and others.
There are wolf, fox, badger, weasel, ermine and such typical steppe species as the step ferret (Putorius eversmanni) and Vulpes corsac). Of the birds, the bust (Otis tarda) is particularly characteristic. The semi-desert zone occupies the southern, more dismembered part of the Turgai Plateau and a wide strip of the Kazakh lowlands in its southern part, with the exception of the southernmost margins.
In the north, along the Turgai hollow, the semi-desert zone is wedged into the steppe zone due to the spread of saline Paleogene deposits here.

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N. A. Gvozdetsky, N. I. Mikhaylov. "Physical geography of the USSR. Asian part. The edition third corrected and added. Moscow "Thought" of 1978. http://tapemark.narod.ru/geograf/1_5_5.html

Photos by
Alexander Petrov.