|Geography and Climate
Kazakhstan is a landlocked country, located in Central Asia, northwest of China. Area comparatively slightly less than four times the size of Texas. Total land boundary is 12,012 km, border countries are China 1,533 km, Kyrgyzstan 1,051 km, Russia 6,846 km, Turkmenistan 379 km, Uzbekistan 2,203 km.
Climate is continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid. Terrain extends from the Volga to the Altai Mountains and from the plains in western Siberia to oasis and desert in Central Asia. Elevation extreme has the lowest point in Vpadina Kaundy -132 m and highest point in Zhengis Shingy (Pik Khan-Tengri) 6,995 m. Natural resources are major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium. Land use: arable land: 12%, permanent crops: 11%, permanent pastures: 57%, forests and woodland: 4%, other: 16% (1996 est.). Irrigated land: 22,000 sq km (1996 est.). Natural hazards are earthquakes in the south, mudslides around Almaty.
Environment—current issues: radioactive or toxic chemical sites associated with its former defense industries and test ranges are found throughout the country and pose health risks for humans and animals; industrial pollution is severe in some cities; because the two main rivers which flowed into the Aral Sea have been diverted for irrigation, it is drying up and leaving behind a harmful layer of chemical pesticides and natural salts; these substances are then picked up by the wind and blown into noxious dust storms; pollution in the Caspian Sea; soil pollution from overuse of agricultural chemicals and salinization from faulty irrigation practices.
Ref. Anonymous, 1999