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The Gobi desert dominates the southern third of the country. Most of this desert is rolling plains, with just enough sparse grasses to support occasional herds of sheep, goats and camels.

The Altai Nuruu mountains in the west are the only permanently snow-covered mountains in the country. To the east of this range is the Great Lakes region (a depression with over 300 lakes), and beyond this is the Hangayn-Hentiyn mountain complex, where the country’s largest river, the Selenge Gol, originates. This river eventually drains into Lake Baikal in Siberia. The Hangayn-Hentiyn mountains surround a fertile basin in the south-eastern corner of which lies the capital city, Ulaanbaatar.

Central and northern Mongolia is in the Siberian steppe, a semi-arid grassland which supports an estimated 30 million horses, cattle, sheep, goats and camels. The area also has significant mineral deposits. The few forests (less than 10% of Mongolia’s land area) are in the north.

 

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