NASA6-701-038 Tien Shan (Mountains), China Fall/Winter 1997 The snow covered Tien Shan, that lie along a generally east/west axis in central Asia, separate the Dzungarian Basin (north) and the Tarim Basin of western China (south). The mountains are the result of geologic folding and uplift. The crystalline and sedimentary rocks in this mountainous region have been subjected to intensive erosion and faulting. Although the climate of the region is arid to semiarid (steppe), melting snow from the Tien Shan provides sufficient moisture to promote agriculture on the extensive alluvial fans (dark striated areas) that stretch along the southern margin of the mountains. Beyond (south) these alluvium oasis lays the Takla Makan Desert (lower left). The blue triangular-looking feature (upper center) is Lake Issyk-Kul, which is located entirely within the borders of Kyrgyzstan. The mountain range immediately north of the lake is the border between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Western China is south of the Tian Shan.