June 2, 2011
Kazakhstan September 1996 Entering the scene in the upper left portion of the image, the Qaratal River (sometimes referred to as the Karatal River) can be seen traversing the scene south to north, emptying into Lake Balkhash at the bottom center of this south-looking view. The Qaratal River rises in the Dzungarsk-Alatau Mountains near the border of Kazakhstan and China (not visible on image). The river flows generally northwestward turning generally northward when it reaches the Saryesik-Atyrau Desert, a large sand desert south of Lake Balkhash. Irrigation in the river valley is visible (darker areas within the floodplain of the river). Because of the irrigation, little water reaches Lake Balkhash.