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Beloubinsk granite massif.

Tours across in Kazakhstan Altai.

“Nature does nothing in vain” 

Aristotle.

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Looking at landscapes of Beloubinsk granite massif in eastern Kazakhstan one involuntarily recall the famous Krasnoyarsk columns. Obviously, raising up granite teeths and columns, both in Kazakhstan and Siberia, are created by nature on a single project.
Despite the fact that the massif is not distinguished by the presence of valuable collection of minerals, exotic forms of relief and unique ecosystems allow us to offer this site as a competitive Geopark. Beloubinsk massif is the most attractive part of WestAltai nature reserve, which includes parts of Lineysky, Holzunsky, Koksinsky and Ivanov Ranges. In the sources of Barsuk, White and Black Uba Rivers alpine relief is particularly picturesque and varied: rocky ridges alternate with snow basins, mountain lakes and swamps.
Natural systems of the Western Altai are protected in the reserve - landscapes and unique flora and fauna. Among the larger animals it is inhabited by a bear, wolverine, Siberian deer, roe deer, elk, musk deer.
The golden eagle, peregrine falcon, saker falcon, owl, black stork are entered into the Red Book of Kazakhstan. You can observe here four plant zones: small-leaved forests, mountain-taiga forests, subalpine and alpine meadows, alpine tundra. The forests of mountain taiga zone are distinguished by the greater variety of plants: Chernevaya taiga, cedar and fir, and dark coniferous forests.
Into the Red Book of Kazakhstan entered: Kandyk Siberian, Slipper megalanthus, Rhubarb Altai, Springhare snow, Rhodiola rose, Sibirka of Altai, Astragalus sweetleaves, Fir Moss. The age of Beloubinsk massif traditionally is regarded as Permian, but it is quite possible it may be younger - Triassic. Spectacular granite rocks are composed of biotite, muscovite, and leucocratic two-mica granites with mattress separateness.
This separateness reflects of the dome structure of the massif and generates a relief: the watersheds coincide with domes (often with plots linked pine woodlands), but to inter-dome depressions confined valleys, usually abundantly watered: network of streams runs, shores are generally marshy or covered with brightly green grass-shrub vegetation. Crests of ridges are often crowned with picturesque chain of outcrops, which sometimes exceeds the height of 30 m.
These rocks, known as “Stone City”, are monuments of nature and are considered as the main tourist attraction. Some of the rocks resemble animals or people - the characters of well-known fairy tales, myths and legends: The Frog-Princess, knight’s head, back of a dragon, etc. Beloubinsk granite breaks the volcanic-sedimentary strata of Middle and Upper Devonian, crumpled into folds, forming Barsuk and Tigeretz anticlines and Bolsherechensk syncline.
Around the massif an extensive (up to 2 km) zone of rocks is formed in the Devonian sediments that have experienced the impact of hot magma. Giving Beloubinsk section Geopark status (with regard to the requirements of the reserved mode) will help to expand the range of tourist attractions and to increase interest in visiting the reserve.

Authority:
Ilya Fishman, Yuliya Kazakova “Millions of years before the Silk Road. Geoparks in Kazakhstan”.  Printing house “Idan“ Kommunal’naya, 39, Almaty, Kazakhstan http://yadi.sk/d/4_6z_blyoxnqe

Photos
Andrey Yurchenkov.