There are almost 8000 glaciers in the Kyrgyz Mountains. The height of the snow line hesitates from 3600m. on the left slopes of the Kyrgyz and Talas ranges, to 4600m. on the south slopes of the Inner Tien-Shan and Pamir-Alay. The ice streams end at a height from 2900 to 4000 meters.
The eternal snow and glaciers cover about 4% of the territory of Kyrgyzstan, which is about 8000 square kilometers. It is significantly larger than the area of the glaciers of the Caucasus and the Alps together. The glaciers contain about 590 km ³ of ice that is equal to 590 billion of cubic meters of fresh water. They could form a nearly 3-meter layer of water on the plane which is equal to the area of the country (198.5 thousand square kilometers).
The glaciers of the country are the unique reservoir of fresh water, the main reserve and the source of water in Central Asia and Kazakhstan. Their importance in the national economy is huge, because they serve as the springs of the rivers. It is they who owe their lives to many of the oases of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Many oases of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan owe their existence to the glaciers.
The glaciers can move. Their speed varies from 10 to 200 meters per year. The glacier Inylchek is the biggest glacier of Kyrgyzstan. The observation of the growth, melting and moving of the glaciers of Kyrgyzstan are carried and studied by special stations.
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