hills in Aktiubinsk Oblast of the Kazakh SSR. They extend from north to south for 200 km and are up to 30 km wide. Elevations are to 657 m (Mount Bol’shoi Boktybai). The Mugodzhar Hills are the southern continuation of the Urals. They begin in the north as a narrow mountain ridge, which subsequently splits into two almost parallel ranges. Between the ranges lies the gently undulating Alabasskaia depression, which measures 15–20 km wide. In some places the ranges are connected by small ridges. The southern part of the Zapadnyi Range is the highest and is strongly dissected. The Vostochnyi Range is a chain of eroded bald peaks, which are dissected by tributaries of the Irgiz River. The hills are composed of Precam-brian and Paleozoic quartzites, crystalline schists, gneisses, granites, carbonaceous shales, sandstones, and conglomerates.
The climate of the Mugodzhars is typically continental. The winter is cold with little snow and a mean January temperature of —14°C; the summer is dry and hot with a mean July temperature of 24°C. The annual precipitation is 200–250 mm. The Emba and Or’ rivers (Caspian Basin) rise on the western slopes of the Mugodzhars, and the right tributaries of the Irgiz (basin without an outlet) on the eastern slopes. Some of the rivers dry up in the summer. The northern part of the Mugodzhar Hills consists of gravelly and stony soddy-grass steppes (feather grass, fescue grass, and oat grass); to the south there are soddy-grass steppes and semi-deserts (wormwood and pennywort). Scrub thickets of spiraea and pea trees are encountered. There are adequate spring and summer pastures for large-scale sheep raising. There are also deposits of copper, nickel, and other useful minerals, on the basis of which mining industry has developed.
E. V. IASTREBOV