(or Balkhash-Alakul’ hollow), a flat, enclosed depression in Kazakh SSR, located at elevations ranging from 342 to 600 m above sea level.
The Balkhash-Alakol’ hollow includes Lake Balkhash in the west, Lakes Sasykkol’ and Alakol’ in the east, and the sandy areas of Taukum, Sary-Ishikotrau, Moinkum, and others in the south. The hollow was formed as a result of a sloping fold that was filled with deposits of sand from rivers. The sands were blown into dunes up to 30 m high, half overgrown with vegetation. Haloxylon, Calligonum, winter fat, wormwood, and saltworts predominate in the vegetative cover. Soils are basically the brown desert steppe type, low calcareous sierozem, and solonchak. Precipitation is 135–200 mm per year.