Eastern Sayan Mountains

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station captured this long lens photograph of part of the Eastern Sayan Mountains in northern Mongolia. Shadows are cast on the mountain faces as the sun sets in the west and darkens the adjacent valleys. Lower elevations are indicated by taiga forests while snow covers mountain tops mostly bare of vegetation. The mountains are largely uninhabited; the closest mapped town is approximately 93 kilometers (58 miles) from image center. The region has served as a crossroads for journeyers and traders between Mongolia and Russia for centuries.

According to the Koppen Climate Classification, the region is classified as Dwc- snow with dry winters and cool summers. With slight fluctuations in temperature, snow melt and occasional precipitation travels down the mountain sides and into tributaries on the low river valley. These tributaries flow east, approximately 149 kilometers (155 miles), before emptying into Lake Khuvsgul, the largest fresh water lake in Mongolia by volume.

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