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Central Asia: Physical Geography

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Chapter
14 Section 3
Objectives
In this section you will:
• Learn about the main physical features of
Central Asia.
• Discover which natural resources are important
in Central Asia.
• Find out how people use the land in Central
Asia.
Central Asia: Physical Geography
Chapter
14 Section 3
Key Term
• steppe (step) n. vast, mostly level, treeless plains that
are covered in grasses
Central Asia: Physical Geography
Chapter
14 Section 3
The nations of Central Asia are:
• Afghanistan
• Tajikistan
• Kazakhstan
• Turkmenistan
• Kyrgyzstan
• Uzbekistan
Except for Afghanistan, the nations of Central Asia were
once part of the Soviet Union.
Central Asia: Physical Geography
Chapter
14 Section 3
Central Asia: Physical
Central Asia: Physical Geography
Chapter
14 Section 3
Central Asia’s main physical features are highlands,
deserts, and steppes, such as the Kirghiz Steppe in
Kazakhstan.
The Kara Kum desert covers much of the land in
Turkmenistan, while the Kyzyl Kum desert covers much of
Uzbekistan.
Central Asia: Physical Geography
Chapter
14 Section 3
Mountains of Central Asia
Tian Shan
mountain
range
• covers much of Kyrgyzstan and
Tajikistan
• also extends into China
Pamir
mountain
range
• covers much of Kyrgyzstan and
Tajikistan
• also extends into Afghanistan, where it
meets the Hindu Kush mountains
Central Asia: Physical Geography
Chapter
14 Section 3
Central Asia: Climate Regions
Central Asia: Physical Geography
Chapter
14 Section 3
Most of Central Asia has an arid or semiarid climate with
cold winters.
At the western edge of this dry region is the Caspian Sea,
which is actually a salt lake.
The Caspian Sea is the largest lake in the world, and it
has some of the world’s largest oil reserves.
Central Asia: Physical Geography
Chapter
14 Section 3
Natural Resources in Central Asia
Petroleum
and Natural
Gas
• Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have
large oil and gas reserves.
• Turkmenistan has the fifth-largest reserve of
natural gas in the world.
Coal
• Kazakhstan has rich deposits of coal, much of
which it exports to Russia and Ukraine, as well as
to Kyrgyzstan and other former Soviet republics.
Gold
• Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are
important gold producers.
Other
Minerals
• Other major mineral resources in the region are
copper, iron ore, lead, and uranium.
Central Asia: Physical Geography
Chapter
14 Section 3
Central Asia: Natural Resources
Central Asia: Physical Geography
Chapter
14 Section 3
Most of the land in Central Asia is used for agriculture,
especially livestock raising and commercial farming.
People in Central Asia have raised sheep, horses, goats,
and camels for thousands of years.
Agriculture in Central Asia depends on irrigation.
Central Asia: Physical Geography
Chapter
14 Section 3
In the 1960s, the Soviet Union wanted to increase cotton
production, so it began to irrigate Central Asia.
Today, cotton is a major crop in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and
Turkmenistan.
However, the irrigation projects have caused major
damage to the Aral Sea, a salt lake that was once the
fourth-largest inland lake in the world.
Central Asia: Physical Geography
Chapter
14 Section 3
Heavy irrigation took great amounts of water from the Amu
Darya and Sry Darya rivers, which flow into the Aral Sea.
As a result, the Aral Sea is drying up, and pesticides used
on the cotton crops have polluted the soil around the sea.
The destruction of the Aral Sea has been called one of the
world’s worst environmental disasters.
Central Asia: Physical Geography
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