Mongolian Plateau
1903 topographic map of the Qing dynasty depicting the Mongolian Plateau
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese蒙古高原
Simplified Chinese蒙古高原
Mongolian name
Mongolian CyrillicМонголын тэгш өндөрлөг
Mongolian scriptᠮᠣᠩᠭᠣᠯ ᠤᠨ

The Mongolian Plateau is an inland plateau in Asia that lies between 37°46′-53°08′N and 87°40′-122°15′E[citation needed] and has an area of approximately 3,200,000 square kilometres (1,200,000 sq mi)[citation needed]. It is bounded by the Greater Hinggan Mountains in the east, the Yin Mountains to the south, the Altai Mountains to the west, and the Sayan and Khentii mountains to the north.[1] The plateau includes the Gobi Desert as well as dry steppe regions. It has an elevation of roughly 1,000 to 1,500 meters, with the lowest point in Hulunbuir and the highest point in the Altai.[1]

Politically, the plateau spans all of Mongolia, along with parts of China and Russia. Inner Mongolia and parts of the Dzungarian basin in Xinjiang encompass the Chinese portion of the plateau. In Russia, the plateau forms Transbaikal, part of Buryatia, and the southern Irkutsk Oblast. The Mongolian Plateau comprises the majority of the area known as the Mongol heartland.


River in the Mongolian Plateau, northern Mongolia

The average elevation of the Mongolian Plateau ranges from 915 to 1,525 meters above sea level.[2] The highest point in the plateau is found in Tavan Bogd at 4374 meters above sea level.[3]


The ecology of Mongolia is complex, having varying regions of highland and lowland areas. Grazing species such as yaks, Przewalski's horses, domesticated sheep, saiga antelope, Siberian ibex and Argali are common. Predator species include the Eurasian lynx, snow leopards, Corsac foxs as well as carnivorous birds such as the bearded vulture, saker falcon, and the cinereous vulture. Marmots are common throughout the region including the Tarbagan marmot with large parts of its range located in the Mongolian plateau.[4]


The plateau was inhabited and conquered by various groups, including (chronologically) the Xiongnu, Xianbei, Göktürks, Tang dynasty, Liao dynasty, Mongol Empire, Yuan dynasty, Northern Yuan dynasty, and Qing dynasty.

Changing environment

Between 1980 and 2010, rising global temperatures and direct human activity (particularly the use of lake water for mining and agriculture) have contributed to a significant loss of lake surface area across the Plateau. Qagaan Nurr and XinKai Lake have shrunk by two-thirds of their surface area during that time, while others (including Huangqihai Lake and Naiman Xihu) have dried up entirely. Some exceptions, such as East Juyan Lake and Had Paozi, have grown, but overall the average total surface area of lakes in the region has shrunk by 30%.[5][6] The region also suffers from a high rate of desertification.[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b Zhang, Xueyan; Hu, Yunfeng; Zhuang, Dafang; Qi, Yongqing; Ma, Xin (2009). "NDVI spatial pattern and its differentiation on the Mongolian Plateau". Journal of Geographical Sciences. 19 (4). Springer-Verlag: 405. doi:10.1007/s11442-009-0403-7.
  2. ^ "Mongolian Plateau | Map, Location, & Facts | Britannica".
  3. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "Highlands of Mongol Altai". UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
  4. ^ Unit, Biosafety. "Main Details".
  5. ^ "Shrinking Lakes on the Mongolian Plateau". NASA. 8 April 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  6. ^ Tao, Shengli; Fang, Jingyun; Zhao, Xia; Zhao, Shuqing; Shen, Haihua; Hu, Huifeng; Tang, Zhiyao; Wang, Zhiheng; Guo, Qinghua (17 February 2015). "Rapid loss of lakes on the Mongolian Plateau". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112 (7): 2281–2286. doi:10.1073/pnas.1411748112. PMC 4343146. PMID 25646423.
  7. ^ Han, Jie; Dai, Han; Gu, Zhaolin. "Sandstorms and desertification in Mongolia, an example of future climate events: a review".