(also Kulunda Plain or Kulunda), a plain in southern Western Siberia, in Altai Krai, RSFSR, and Pavlodar Oblast, Kazakh SSR. Located in the interfluve of the Ob’ and Irtysh rivers, the steppe abuts the foothills of the Altai in the southeast. Area, about 100,000 sq km. Elevation, 100-120 m in the central part and up to 200-250 m in the south and east. The topography is characterized by high (50-60 m) crests extending from the northeast to the southwest alternating with the depressions separating them, which are occupied by rivers (Kuchuk, Kulunda, Burla) and lakes without outlets and salt or bitter salt water. The lakes contain reserves of soda (Petukhovskie lakes), Glauber’s salt (Kulunda and Kuchuk), and common salt.
The climate is continental, with a mean January temperature of from −17° to −19°C and 19°−22°C for July. Annual precipitation totals 250-350 mm. There is a predominance of steppe landscapes, with grassy steppes on southern chernozems in the north and east and wormwood-grassy steppes on chestnut soils of light mechanical composition in the south and west. There are podzolized and soddy soils under the “strips” of pine stands and insular birch-aspen groves (kolki).
The Kulunda Steppe is an important agricultural region of Western Siberia. A significant part of it has been plowed up and is occupied by plantings of cereals (chiefly spring wheat) and industrial crops. Artificial irrigation is used in places.
N. I. MIKHAILOV