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Uzbekistan, Land and Resources

Uzbekistan is a landlocked country that covers an area of about 447,400 sq km (about 172,700 sq mi). Mountains dominate the landscape in the east and northeast. Several branches of the western Tien Shan and Pamirs-Alai mountain systems cross into Uzbekistan from neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, with some peaks reaching above 4,000 m (13,000 ft). Areas of eastern Uzbekistan are especially prone to seismic disturbances; in 1966 a strong earthquake destroyed large portions of Toshkent.

To the west of the mountains, Uzbekistan is generally low in elevation. More than two-thirds of Uzbekistan’s territory is covered by desert and steppe (semiarid grassy plains). One of the largest deserts in the world, the vast, barren Qyzylqum, lies in north central Uzbekistan, and extends into Kazakhstan. In northeastern Uzbekistan, southwest of Toshkent, lies the Mirzachol desert. Across west central Uzbekistan is a vast area of flat plains called the Turan Plain, while additional plains lie south and east of the Qyzylqum. The extreme western portion of the country is occupied by the Ustyurt plateau, an elevated plain with some small mountain ridges and abrupt edges.

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