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Ustyurt Plateau in Aral Sea

Ustyurt Plateau in Uzbekistan

The Ustyurt Plateau, also spelled Ust-Yurt, is a central Asian plateau in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, lying between the Aral Sea and the Amu Darya (river) delta in the east and the Mangyshlak (Tupqarghan) Plateau and the Kara-Bogaz-Gol (Garabogazkul; an inlet of the Caspian Sea) in the west. It extends roughly 200,000 km² (77,000 square miles), with an average elevation of 150 meters (about 500 feet), and consists primarily of stony desert. Its highest point rises to a maximum of 1,200 feet (365 m) in the south-west.

The plateau's semi-nomadic population raises sheep, goats, and camels. At its edges it drops steeply to the Aral Sea and the surrounding plain. Oil and natural-gas deposits lie west of the plateau. Asiatic cheetahs and Caspian tigers used to live there.