Lakes and Mountains of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan – October 13th, 201242.3N 77.2E
Several lakes can be observed in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, northwest of the Taklamakan Desert (lower right) in China. Nearest the desert is Lake Issyk Kul, an endorheic lake in the northern Tian Shan mountains in eastern Kyrgyzstan. Although it is surrounded by snow-capped peaks, it never freezes.
North of Lake Issyk Kul is Lake Balkhash, in southeastern Kazakhstan, belonging to an endorheic basin shared by Kazakhstan and China, with a small part in Kyrgyzstan. The basin drains into the lake via seven rivers, most notably the Ili River, which is fed from precipitation (largely vernal snowmelt) from the mountains of China’s Xinjiang region.
Visible to the east of Lake Balkhash, near the right edge of the image, is Lake Alakol, located in east central Kazakhstan. The lake is the northwest extension of the region known as the Dzhungarian Gate (Alataw Pass), a narrow, fault-bounded valley that connects the southern uplands of Kazakhstan with arid northwest China.