KAZAKHSTANIA, also known as the KAZAKHSTAN BLOCK, is a small geological region in the interior of Asia . It consists of the area north and east of the Aral Sea , south of the Siberian craton and west of the Altai Mountains and Lake Balkhash . Politically, it comprises most of what today is Kazakhstan and has a total area of around 1.3 million km². The Junggar basin in Xinjiang , China is also part of Kazakhstania, though sometimes referred to as the JUNGGAR BLOCK.
It is believed that present-day Kazakhstania is chiefly a mélange of early Paleozoic volcanic island arcs and some small continental terranes . These were joined together during the Ordovician to form what was at the time an isolated continent of its own. During the Carboniferous and Permian , Siberia collided with Kazakhstania to form the Altai Mountains , later Baltica collided in the Ural orogeny , creating the basis for most of present-day Eurasia .
Kazakhstania is mainly flat: only in the east near Karaganda are 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 , sheep and camels on the grasslands which cover most of the region today. Kazakhstania was too dry for extensive glaciation during the Quaternary . Kazakhstania contains as much as a quarter of the world's proven uranium reserves and is also one of the world's major source of lead , zinc , and antimony ores. On the southern boundary in the Turan Depression are large deposits of natural gas .
* List of shields and cratons