Kazakhstania, also known as the Kazakhstan Block, is a small continental region in the interior of
Asia. It consists of that area north and east of the Aral Sea, south of the Siberian cratonand west of the Altai Mountainsand Lake Balkhash. Politically, it comprises most of Kazakhstanand has a total area of around 1.3 million km². The Junggar basinin Xinjiang, Chinais also part of Kazahstania, though sometimes referred to as the Junggar Block.
It is believed that present-day Kazakhstania is chiefly a collage of early
Paleozoic volcanic island arcs and some small continental terranes. These were joined together during the Ordovicianto form what was at the time an isolated continent of its own. During the Carboniferousand Permian, Siberia collided with Kazakhstania to form the Altai Mountains, later Balticacollided in the Ural orogeny, creating the basis for most of present-day Eurasia.
Kazakhstania is mainly flat: only in the east near
Karagandaare there mountains and these only rise to 1,565 metres (5,130 feet) in the Tarbagatay Range. Although most of Kazakhstania is arid and practically no water flows from the region to the oceans, there is extensive grazing of cattle, sheepand camels on the grasslands which cover most of the region today. Kazakhstania was too dry for extensive glaciationduring the Quaternary. Kazakhstania contains as much as a quarter of the world's proven uraniumreserves and is also one of the world's major source of lead, zinc, and antimonyores. On the southern boundary in the Turan Depressionare large deposits of natural gasformed as a result of its collision with the Indian plate.
List of Platforms, Shields and Cratons
* [http://www.es.ucsc.edu/~paleomag/tectonics/chmap.html Map of the Kazakhstan Block and surrounding areas]
* [http://www.jpg.co.uk/ab_jul_03_4.htm Ordovician-Permian paleogeography of Central Eurasia]
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