Pan morphology, Distribution and formation in Kazakhstan and Neighbouring areas of the Russian federation

Document Type : Research Paper


Oxford University School of Geography and the Environment, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY, United Kingdom


  In northern Kazakhstan and neighbouring parts of the West Siberian Plain of Russia is one of the world’s biggest concentrations of pans. The area has thousands of them. Landsat imagery and Google Earth images indicate their distribution within this semi-arid area and their forms and associated lunette dunes. Many of the pans, most of which are small, wet and shallow, show a characteristic shape and orientation and some have developed in Pleistocene dune fields. Others have developed in old river channels and from the deflation of lake floors. The pans are in a low-relief area developed on Palaeogene, Neogene and Quaternary beds and have been shaped by winds coming from the south west. They occur in an area which is predominantly steppe grassland. Comparisons can be made with other global pan areas in terms of their number, densities, areas, and depths and in terms of the materials on which they have developed, and the climatic conditions that occur here they are found.

One of the world’s biggest, previously unstudied, areas of aeolian pans
Data are presented on the main pan morphologies and their morphometry
The pans have morphological similarities to those observed in areas like the High Plains of the USA, South Africa, the Pampas of Argentina and Australia


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