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Mongolia: Mongolia Geography Profile 2012






Mongolia Geography Profile 2012

Mongolia is mainly a semiarid terrain with a large range of physical features. In northern, western, southwestern, and central Mongolia are mountains divided by broad basins, plains, and valleys. The peak elevations are in the Altai Mountains, where numerous peaks reach more than 14,000 feet (4,270 m). Most of southern and southeastern Mongolia is occupied by the Gobi desert and the Mongolian Plateau. Short grasses cover most of the country's land.
almost all of the rivers are in the northern half of the nation and drain northward toward Russia. The Selenge River and its tributaries, chief of which is the Orhon, form the principal drainage system. additional rivers include the Kerulen and the Dzavhan; both empty into lakes having no outward drainage.
Mongolia has a continental climate, discernible by much sunny weather and extreme seasonal variations of temperature. In a lot of ways the climate resembles that of Siberia. Winters are bitterly cold and summers are warm to hot. At the capital city of Ulaanbaator, for example, temperatures range from a winter low of about - 14° F. ( -26° C.) to a summer high of about 75° F. (24° C.). Precipitation is scanty everywhere; it decreases from about 12 inches (300 mm) a year in the north to less than 2 inches (50 mm) in the south.


Northern Asia, between China and Russia

Geographic coordinates: 

46 00 N, 105 00 E

Map references: 


Area comparative: 

slightly smaller than Alaska

Land boundaries Total: 

8,220 km

Land boundaries Note: 


desert; continental (large daily and seasonal temperature ranges)


vast semidesert and desert plains, grassy steppe, mountains in west and southwest; Gobi Desert in south-central

Natural resources: 

oil, coal, copper, molybdenum, tungsten, phosphates, tin, nickel, zinc, fluorspar, gold, silver, iron

Natural hazards: 

dust storms; grassland and forest fires; drought; "zud," which is harsh winter conditions

Environment - current issues: 

limited natural fresh water resources in some areas; the policies of former Communist regimes promoted rapid urbanization and industrial growth that had negative effects on the environment; the burning of soft coal in power plants and the lack of enforcement of environmental laws severely polluted the air in Ulaanbaatar; deforestation, overgrazing, and the converting of virgin land to agricultural production increased soil erosion from wind and rain; desertification and mining activities had a deleterious effect on the environment

Geography note: 

landlocked; strategic location between China and Russia