ALA-TAU ("Variegated Mountains"), the name of six mountain ranges in Asiatic Russia. Three of these are in the government of Semiryechensk in Central Asia, all belonging to the Tianshan system:--(1) the Terskei Ala-tau, south of and parallel to the lake of Issyk-kul; (2) the Kunghei Ala-tau, and (3) the Trans-Ili Ala-tau, both N. of and parallel to the same lake; and (4) the Dzungarian Ala-tau, lying N. of the Ili depression. The first three link together the Tian-shan and the Alexander Range. Their mean elevation is 6000-7000 ft.; their culminating point, Talgar, on a transverse ridge between (2) and (3), reaches 15,000 ft.; the limits of perpetual snow run at 11,000-11,700 ft. The Dzungarian Ala-tau reach a maximum altitude of 11,000 ft. and have a mean altitude of 6250 ft. From the middle of the Alexander Range another range (5) called Ala-tau, or Talastau, strikes west by south. The name Ala-tau also enters into the designation of (6), a range between the upper Yenisei and the upper Ob, in the government of Tomsk, namely, the Kuznetsk Ala-tau, forming an outlier of the Altai Mountains, and reaching 6000-7000 ft. in altitude.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)