(also Khakass-Minusinsk Basin), the southern part of the vast intermontane Minusinsk Depression in southern Krasnoiarsk Krai. It is bounded on the south by the Zapadnyi Saian, on the west by the Abakan Range, on the north by spurs of Kuznetskii Alatau, and on the east by spurs of the Vostochnyi Saian. The terrain consists mainly of ridgy plains, divided by valleys. Elevations range from 200–300 to 700 m. The basement of the plain and some low-mountain massifs are composed of slate, sandstone, conglomerate, marl, and limestone, as well as tuff, porphyrite, and syenite of the Paleozoic, which in the more low-lying areas are covered with loam, loess, and sandy loam.
The climate is continental and, in places, arid. Average January temperatures range from—16° to—20.5°C, and June temperatures range from 18.2° to 19.6°C. In winter the temperature may drop to—52°C, and in summer it occasionally rises to 45°C. The growing season is 150–160 days. The central part of the basin receives 240–270 mm of precipitation annually, and the periphery, up to 450–500 mm; nearly two-thirds of the precipitation occurs in summer. The largest rivers are the Enisei and its tributaries, the Abakan, Oia, and Tuba. There are many fresh-water and salt lakes, including Tagarskoe and Solenoe. The soils and plant cover of the central part differ from those of the periphery. Rocky, four-grass, wormwood-feather grass, and feather grass-oat grass steppes are well developed in the more low-lying areas of the central part of the basin. They include the Abakan, Uibatskaia and Koibaly steppes, growing on chestnut soils and southern chernozems. Along the periphery, common and leached chernozems and gray forest soils support grass-meadow steppes alternating with groves of birch, Siberian larch, and occasionally pine and aspen. The basin is one of the most important agricultural regions in the mountains of Southern Siberia. The arable soils have been plowed up, and fruit and melon growing are well developed. Stock raising for meat and milk and horse breeding are also important. Mineral deposits include iron ore and coal. In the early 1970’s the large Saian territorial-production complex was under construction, including machine-building and chemical enterprises and hydroelectric power stations.
REFERENCESMikhailov, N. I. Gory luzhnoi Sibiri. Moscow, 1961.
Krasnoiarskii krai: Prirodnoe i ekonomiko-geograficheskoe raionirovanie. Krasnoiarsk, 1962.
Sredniaia Sibir’. Moscow, 1964.
Koliago, S. A. Pravoberezh’e Minusinskoi vpadiny. Leningrad, 1967.
M. V. KIRILLOV