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Govi-Altai aimag

The general information of Govi-Altai aimag
Content Data Description
Founded year 1940 -
Name of the aimag's center Altai with a Sum status
Coordinates 45°30'N 95°30'E -
Number of the sums (territorial administrative units) 18 including Altai (aimag's center)
Total territory 141,447 km² -
- forestry (saxaul, larch, shrubs) 1,221,266 ha. -
- agricultured land 1,092.7 ha. -
- pasture land 11,321,460.0 ha. -
Time zone GMT+8 Add 8 hours to Greenwich Mean Time
Area code +976-7048-xxxx 976 - country code 7048 - aimag code

Distance from Ulaanbaatar to the center of aimag (Altai), km
Ulaanbaatar - Altai 1090
Distance from center of aimag to center of sum, km
Altai 318 Tugrug 148
Bayan-Uul 146 Khaliun 87
Biger 108 Khukhmorit 215
Bugat 203 Tsogt 187
Darvi 186 Tseel 167
Delger 88 Chandmani 189
Jargalan 85 Sharga 79
Taishir 43 Erdene 223
Tonkhil 209    

This aimag is bordered with Bayankhongor to the east, Zavkhan to the north, Khovd to the west, and with the P.R. of China to the south. The aimag's territory belongs to Altai mountainous and Gobi desert zones. Most parts of the aimag lay on Gobi desert zone. 600 million years old clump and rocks that shows last ice age features and marks have been found in Khasagt Khairkan and surrounding mountains. At both sides of these mountains, broad Gobi steppes with humps and hollows lie that dominates the aimag's territory. These steppes formed in the Mesozoic era and remained unchanged during the movements of lithosphere plates that produce mountains. Absolute average height of the Gobi and cavities is 743-1,100m. The 10 of the 33 famous Gobi of Mongolia are in this aimag. The lowest point is Tsenkher Nomin's Gobi (583m) and the highest mountain is Sutai Khairhan Mountain with the height of 4,090m followed by Aj Bogd (3,802m), Burkhan Buudai (3,765m), Alag Khairhan (3,738m), Khasagt Khairkhan (3,578m), Bus Khairkhan (3,393m), and Buga Khairkhan respectively.

The alpine climate covers the northern branches of Mongol Altai Range - Sutai Khairkhan, Darvi Range, Khasagt Khairkhan, Khantaishir Range and Burkhan Buudai. In this dry and alpine climate zone average air temperature of July is +20°C, January is -20°C and average precipitation is 80-135mm annually. 2,800m and higher mountain areas are dominated with wet and cold air with the average temperature of +16°C in July , -24°C in January and annual precipitation with 135mm, thus this area is considered to be one of the most humid parts of the aimag. Around the down hills and steppes are humps and hollows with an average height of 1,600-2,000m, that surrounds Darvi, Khagast Khairkhan, Khantaishir, Serkhi, Atas Bogd Mountains, Idrengiin Range, semi arid cold climate dominates. Temperature reaches to +24°C in July, drops down to -20°C in January and annual precipitation rate is 48-80mm in this area. Warmer regions of the aimag are Sharga, Khuisiin Govi, surrounding areas of Mongol Els Dunes, Biger, Khaliun, Shalyn Khooloi, Alag Nuuryn Govi, Zakhui, Zarman's Govi, Khatan Suudal Steppe of southern part of the aimag. Here temperature reaches +24°C and above in July, where -16°C and below in January, and annual precipitation is 48mm. Southern and southwestern parts of the aimag including the whole of southern Altai Govi, cavity of central Sharga and Zakhuin Govi has warm dessert-steppe climate with annual precipitation of 48mm or lower. The highest temperature is over +30°C in July.

Govi-Altai aimag belongs to Altai and Gobi ring of Central Asian Gobi division zone. Therefore, mountain and steppe soil covers the territory of the aimag. Mongol Altai Range and its branch mountains have a combination of tundra, alpine rough pulp soil, mountain and arid steppe rough pulp soil, mountain meadow, meadow steppe light hepatic, mountain and desert steppe brown soil, desert light brown soil. There are many types of soil such as hepatic, fair brown, thin layered brownish, field brown, field gray-brown, gray-brown, saline and sandy soil that form the surface of the humps and hollows of the steppes surrounding the mountain ranges and the southern parts of the aimag including Sharga, Biger Zakhui, Zarman, Alag Nuur. Overly extremely arid soil with gypsum and zeolite covers almost half of the Altai, Tsogt, Erdene Sum areas, yet sandy soil covers the area of Khukh Morit, Bayan-Uul and Jargalant sums.

Rivers and Lakes
There are many rivers in this aimag that belongs to Zavkhan River Basin of Central Asian internal drainage basin. For example, Zuiliin River that takes its source from Sutai Range, Gurvan Sharyn River takes source from Khagast Khairkhan Range and flows into Sharyn Govi, Ust Chatsran takes source from Burkhan Buudai Mountain, Sagsai and Tugrug rivers also take source from Burkhan Buudai and flows into Zakhuin Govi, Shargyn River that takes source from Khar Azargyn range, Bijiin River from Alag Khairkhan Mountain, Myangain River from Gichgen Range and flows into Biger Lake. These rivers are fed by snow and ice water or underground water and flows on and undergrounds into the lakes. There is 1mm² to 0.11km² sized glaciers in Sutai Khairhan Mountain at 3,855m, and melts by 296mm annually. The aimag has many lakes like Ikhes (salt lake), Shargyn Tsagaan (edible salt lake), Sangiin Dalai (the biggest in the aimag), Buur (edible salt), Tonkhil, Khulam, Khutag, Alag (with high mineralization of 35 percent) and Biger that are formed in a result of tectonic movements. This aimag has methane, azotes, salty springs like Ust Chatsran of Khaliun sum, Khunkher of Jargalan Sum, Bor-Ovoo and Biger Lake springs of Delger Sum.

The aimags flora is divided into 6 classes.
  1. Lowland, desert-steppe bunchgrass like plants: cleistogenes, mongol grass, sage brush, anabisis, wild leek, caragana, salsola and others, 
  2. Partially brushy and brushy plants of steppe: anabisis, saksaul, nitraria, reaumaria and etc., 
  3. Lake, riverside and swash plants: halophyte floras, straw like plants, 
  4. Alpine and meadow plants, 
  5. Lowland, mid height mountain saltmarsh plants: fescue, tussock and others, 
  6. Semi arid steppe plants: cleistogenes, tussock, fescue, agropyron.
Also unstabilized population of desert vegetation can be found here too.
From herbal plants: roseroot, thermopsis, saussurea involucrata, Gobi's thyme, sophora alopecuroides, valerian officinalis, Ural licorice, aconite, dianthus, dianthus superbus, gentain, ginseng, populus diversifolia, juniper sabina, rosa acicularis,agriophyllum and many others populate the area.
From herbal plants: Altan Gagnuur, Mongolian bush tea, Vansemberuu, gobi's precipice, herbal bumber, ural sweet grass, aegel putrid grass, alag tsetseg bashir, javkhaalag bashir and many others are grown.

The aimag's fauna is divided into major classes of mammals, amphibians, insects, fishes and birds according to its geographical features. Alpine regions including central parts of the Mongol Altai Range and the surrounding mountains are inhabited with mammals like wild sheep, mountain goat, leopard, small animals such as mountain vole, Altaic striped hamster, long tailed steppe mouse and many others. Various species of Insects are more densely populated in mountainous areas.
Marmots, wolves, rabbits, foxes and other animals inhabit in the steppes and other regions.
In forest steppe regions, like Khasagt Khairkhan, Khar Azarga Range, the strictly protected mountains, deer, elk, marten and chipmunks are found.
The endangered Gobi's species like 2 humped wild camel, wild ass, saiga antelope, mazaalai the gobi bear, bulrush boar, black tailed gazelle, wild cat, reptiles like gecko, snake lizard, varan are found in gobi regions. Also grasshopper, butterfly, mosquito, midge, cleg and other insects are found. Mongolian gerbil, jird are abundant in desert steppe regions.
The aimag has many birds such as Altain snowcock, white lagopus, partridge, khakhilaga, lammergeyer, and vulture. Sparrows, eagles dominate in the steppe region. Ground jay, choghcoo, zerjigne are found in gobi region. Many other birds like raven, dove, buzzard, gull and others that live close to human settlements are also abundant here. Zavkhan River is rich with various species of fish.

Other information
Traces of huge rhinoceros from the Paleogene period was found in Khaliun and Biger sums, and in Altain Sum's Khaich Mountain, Ulaan Ganga, Eej Khairkhan Mountain, Bugat Sum's Bungiin River. Also traces of ancient birds, shells, elephants belonging to Miocene epoch, Neogene period and ancient horse belonging to Paleocene epoch had been found from one spot in Shargyn Govi. 32% of the aimag is part of the gobi strictly protected area which is divided into A and B sections.
A section covers 45,149km² area starting at the state southern borders that lie in Byankhongor and Govi-Altai aimags and continuing for 100km up to the north. Idrengiin Mountains, Atas, Chingis, Segs Tsagaan Bogd, Arslan Khairkhan, Shiveet Ulaan, Lanzat, Tsaviluur, Khar Range, Khutsyn Shand and other areas like Nomin, Tsenkher Govi lie in this A section.
B section is located in 250km from the Altai City and covers 8,000km² area starting at the state southern border at Khovd and Govi-Altai aimags. Altain southern Gobi, Zuun Govi, Baruun Khuurai, Bor Tsonjiin Govi, Khonin Us's Gobi lie within the territory of the B section.
Total area of the Gobi strictly protected area is 53,117km² and it is considered to be one of the biggest protected areas in the world. It has been registered as states strictly protected area since 1975. The strictly protected and natural reserve areas have many mountains such as Khasagt Khairkhan, state worshiped Sutai, Alag Khairhan, Burkhan Buudai Mountain, Eej Khairhan Mountain and Sharga-Mankhan Field.
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