Altai (or Altay) Mountains, a mountain range of Central Asia. It extends northwest-southeast for about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) through parts of Kazakhstan, Russia, China, and the Mongolian People's Republic. In Siberia, where the range is extremely rugged, stands 14,783-foot (4,506-m) Gora Belukha, the highest peak in the Altais. To the southeast the range becomes lower and increasingly barren, ending in the Gobi desert. From the Altais flow the Ob and Irtysh rivers. Mineral wealth is potentially great; known deposits include copper, gold, zinc, lead, silver, and mercury. Valleys and intermountain tablelands provide farmland for growing grain and raising livestock.
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Central Asia, an indefinite region in the interior of Asia. It is generally considered to extend in a broad band from the Caspian Sea into the Xinjiang region of China, covering roughly the same area as Turkestan.
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