Feel the unity with desert


The Karakum sand desert is one of the largest in Central Asia, occupying almost 3/4 of the territory of Turkmenistan. It exceeds the territory of such states as the United Kingdom, Italy or Norway.

The Karakum is the youngest of the Great Deserts of the planet. Many of its landscapes have arisen over the past few thousand years. For example, another 2.5 thousand years ago, in the place of the Western Karakum there was a steppe, with a milder climate and a completely different animal and plant world. The central parts of the desert appeared much earlier, perhaps about a million years ago.

All sandy sediments of the desert, from which are inspired by its dunes, river origin. In the recent past, numerous and affluent rivers carried away the products of rock destruction from the mountains located in the south, forming large sand ridges. They occupy most of the desert. The wind forms small ridges and changes the micro-relief on the surface of large ridges. The largest sand dunes rising to a height of one hundred meters are located in the sands of Chil-Mamed-Kum in the south-west of the Great Desert.

The natural conditions of the Karakum are heavy, especially if you get here for the first time. In summer, at midday heat the air temperature reaches 40-50 °, but in the shade this seemingly intolerable heat is transferred relatively easily. This feature of the climate helps as dry air. In the humid tropics and at much lower temperatures, man is much harder. Escaping from the heat of the day, many Karakum animals hide in the shadows or burrow into the sand, which is already much cooler at a depth of several centimeters. When night falls, the temperature in the Karakum Desert quickly drops to 17-20 °, and all living things awaken to gather food, to hunt, or, if necessary, for long-distance movements. This very characteristic climatic trait of the Karakum - the big difference between day and night temperatures - is further enhanced by their other trait. Due to the great dryness and frequent winds, the Karakum air is rarely clear and transparent. Almost always, and especially in summer, it is saturated with dust. It hangs over the hot earth with the thinnest fog and blurs the contours of distant objects. The highly dusty atmosphere warms the sun even more. At night, dust in the air remains significantly less and under the cloudless sky the surface of the earth intensively gives off heat. The soil is noticeably cooled, and with it the surface layer of air, which further increases the already large difference between day and night temperatures, reaching 29-30 °. This record daily amplitude is typical for all Central Asian deserts in general.

But not heat, but the lack of moisture is the main factor limiting the development of life in the desert. In the Karakum desert there is practically no other water than the ground water at different depths: from 3–6 meters near the Amudarya, the main source of all Karakum groundwater, to 300 meters near the Karabil.

In the spring, the entire desert territory, with the exception of 5% of the Karakum desert sand dunes, is covered with ephemera and ephemeroids, which wither in early May. The vegetation is represented by sand sedge, sand acacia, astragalus, saxaul. In the Karakum gazelles, foxes-corsaks, wolves, dunes and steppe cats, rodents, lizards, snakes, phalanxes, scorpions, steppe turtles are found.

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