A landlocked and mountainous country, with plains in the north and southwest, Afghanistan is variously described as being located within South Asia, Central Asia and sometimes Western Asia (or the Middle East). It lies between latitudes 29° and 39° N, and longitudes 60° and 75° E. Afghanistan's highest point is Nowshak, at 7,485 m (24,557 ft) above sea level. The climate varies by region and tends to change quite rapidly. Large parts of the country are dry, and fresh water supplies are limited. The endorheic Sistan Basin is one of the driest regions in the world. The country is frequently subject to minor earthquakes, mainly in the northeast of Hindu Kush mountain areas.
At 249,984 sq mi (647,456 km2), Afghanistan is the world's 41st largest country (after Burma). It shares borders with Pakistan in the East, Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, and China in the far east. The country does not face any water shortage because it receives huge amounts of snow during winter. Once that melts, the water runs into rivers, lakes, and streams, but most of its national water flows to neighboring states.The nation's natural resources include gold, silver, copper, zinc, and iron ore in the Southeast; precious and semi-precious stones (such as lapis, emerald, and azure) in the Northeast; and potentially significant petroleum and natural gas reserves in the North. The country also has uranium, coal, chromite, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, and salt. It was revealed in 2010 that the country has about $1–3 trillion in untapped mineral deposits.