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Lake Ulungur Below the Altai Mountains, China – October 15th, 2009

47.2N 87.3E

October 15th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Rivers

China - September 4th, 2009

China - September 4th, 2009

Freshwater Lake Ulungur is located in Fuhai, Xinjiang, China. Its total surface area is 1,035 square kilometers, although it is divided into two sections: the larger Buluntuo Lake and the smaller Jili Lake.

The lake is fed by the Ulungur River. Further water is diverted into it by a canal built through the watershed between the Ulungur and Irtysh rivers.

North of the lake arise the snow-capped Altai Mountains, the source of the Irtysh and Ob Rivers. The mountain range runs through central Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together. As they extend southeast, the peaks gradually become lower and merge into the high plateau of the Gobi Desert.

Lakes Zaysan and Ulungur in Kazakhstan and China

47.3N 87.1E

May 17th, 2011 Category: Lakes, Mountains

Kazakhstan, Russia and China - May 2nd, 2011

Visible at the top of this image are the Altai Mountains, in southwestern Siberia, Russia near the borders with China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

Visible to the south is Lake Zaysan, in eastern Kazakhstan, in a hollow between the Altai and Tarbagatai Mountains. A freshwater lake, at around 1,810 km² (700 mi²) it is the largest lake in the East Kazakhstan Province.

Moving eastward, one can see Lake Ulungur, in Fuhai County, Xinjiang, China. With an area of 1,035 square kilometers, the lake is one of China’s ten largest freshwater lakes.

Confluence of Biya and Katun Rivers Forming the Ob River, Russia

52.5N 85.2E

May 10th, 2010 Category: Mountains, Rivers

Russia - April 28th, 2010

Russia - April 28th, 2010

The Ob River crosses the upper half of this orthorectified image of western Siberia, Russia. It is the country’s fourth longest river and is famous for having the longest estuary in the world.

Here, the Ob can be observed at its origin: the confluence of the Biya and Katun Rivers, 16 miles (26 km) southwest of Biysk in Altai Krai (the city is visible upon opening the full image).

Both the Biya and the Katun have their origin in the Altai Mountains, visible here in the lower part of the image. The former issues from Lake Teletskoye; the latter, 80 miles (130 km) long, bursts out of a glacier on Mount Byelukha.

many square and rectangular fields can be seen near the river’s banks. Further south, the peaks of the Altai Mountains

Lake Zaysan Between the Altai and Tarbagatai Mountains, Kazakhstan

47.9N 83.8E

May 5th, 2010 Category: Lakes, Mountains, Rivers

Kazakhstan - April 28th, 2010

Kazakhstan - April 28th, 2010

Lake Zaysan is a freshwater lake in eastern Kazakhstan, visible in this orthorectified image in a hollow between the Altai and Tarbagatai Mountains. It is the largest lake in the East Kazakhstan Province, with a surface area of approximately 1,810 km² (700 mi²).

The lake lies at the altitude 420 m, is 105 km long and 22–48 km wide, with the maximum depth 15 m. Since the construction of the Bukhtarma dam the lake has risen 6 m (20 ft) above its natural level.

Its major tributaries are the Kara Irtysh (Black Irtysh) and Kendyrlyk from the east, its only outlet is the Irtysh River (or White Irtysh). The lake is generally frozen from the beginning of November to the end of April.

Agriculture and Desert in China’s Dzungarian Basin

45.5N 84.8E

October 6th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

China - September 4th, 2009

China - September 4th, 2009

Dzungaria is a geographical region in northwest China corresponding to the northern half of Xinjiang. It covers approximately 777,000 km2 (300,000 sq mi), lying mostly within Xinjiang, and extending into western Mongolia and eastern Kazakhstan.

The core of Dzungaria is the triangular Dzungarian Basin (also Junggar Basin) with its central Gurbantunggut Desert. It is bounded by the Tien Shan to the south, the Altai Mountains to the northeast and the Tarbagatai Mountains to the northwest.

The Dzungarian Basin is largely steppe and semi-desert; only a gap in the mountains to the north allows moist air masses to provide the basin lands with enough moisture to remain semi-desert rather than becoming a true desert. This also allows a thin layer of vegetation to grow. Here, thanks to additional irrigation, green fields cover some of the land, particularly to the south, contrasting with the sand dunes to the east.

Runoff from the surrounding mountains into the basin supplies several lakes, including the long, shallow Mana Sihu towards the center of the image.