Friday, April 24, 2015

Плато Устюрт (Plato Ustyurt)

 
Площадь ок. 200 000 км². Основной ландшафт представляет собой глинистую полынную и полынно-солянковую пустыни, юго-восточная часть плато — глинисто-щебнистая пустыня.Большая часть этого плато покрыта растительностью, переходной от подзоны северных (полынно-солянковых) пустынь к подзоне южных (эфемерово-полынных) пустынь.

 Очень часто именно плато Устюрт называют границей разделяющей Азию и Европу. Плато Устюрт занимает огромные пространства между Аральским и Каспийским морями и имеет характерную особенность: чинк — крутой труднодоступный обрыв высотой около 150 м (Восточный чинк, обращенный в сторону Арала, достигает 190 м).

По мнению ученых, плато Устюрт – это дно высохшего моря, которое существовало в этих местах в начале и середине кайнозойской эры (21 млн лет назад). Об этом свидетельствуют вкрапления ракушек в известняке, а также железомарганцевые конкреции, наподобие бильярдных шаров, разбросанные по всему плато. Эти "шары" формировались на дне моря, а потом, как более устойчивые к выветриванию, оказались на поверхности, когда окружающие их известняки и доломиты были размыты водой. Ровный пустынный рельеф, прерывающийся меловыми отложениями в виде скал и, появляющихся тут и там трещин похож на марсианский пейзаж из голливудского фильма и кажется, что по невероятной случайности вы исследуете иную, незнакомую планету.

Особенно красиво плато Устюрт во время закатов и рассветов. Меловые скалы во время закатов и рассветов представляют впечатляющую картину, когда белые скальные породы окрашиваются в багряные цвета. Флора и фауна Устюрта открывается глазам путешественников не сразу. Постепенно, привыкая к необычным природным условиям, можно заметить колонии песчанок, сусликов и тушканчиков. Здесь обитает большое количество хищных птиц — грифов и орлов, которые гордо восседают на скалах чинка. Так же можно увидеть сайгаков, хотя вряд ли фотолюбителям удастся запечатлеть на камеру этих пугливых и очень быстрых животных. Зато путешественники могут сфотографировать устюртских архаров в естественной среде обитания. Что более всего удивляет так это наличие на плато Устюрт диких лошадей. но лошади одичали и прижились на плато, где и обитают до сих пор.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Stone giants of the Ustyurt

Sanctuary on the mound.  Ustyurt.  Photo: maryno.net
The Ustyurt is a crossroads of many civilisations and has retained traces of neolith man, Scythians, Massagets,  Mongols and others. The Great Silk Road, the ancient Caravan route crossed the plateau connecting the ancient city of Khiva with the lower reaches of the Emba and Volga.

Photo: Sanctuary mound. Ustyurt.  maryno.net



Stella on the mound with mysterious signs.  Photo: keyforum.ru
Finds include traces of the ancient city of Shahr-e-Wazir, caravan-seray Beleuli and an Alan fortresses. In addition old cemeteries with majestic mausoleums (Mazar) are scattered across the Plateau. In addition some 60 Neolithic sites have been found on the Ustyurt Plateau.

In 1983  Soviet geologists found some 70 sculptures of male warriors and sacrificial altars about 50 km from the village of Sai-Utes.

Photo: Stella on the mound with mysterious signs. keyforum.ru

Known as the Beyte wells the remains of these sculptures y are found on three sets of hillocks (votoka)  stretched out in a line from north-east to south-west at a distance of 1 to 4 km from each other . Beat complex-1 consists of a single mound of height of 4 meters and two smaller mounds, and some 25 sculptures.

On the mound in the abandoned village of Ustyurt.  Photo: skitalets.ru
The largest the "King's mound" was plundered in antiquity and archaeologists have found only one coracoid stone altar intact.

Photo: mound in the abandoned village of Ustyurt.  skitalets.ru

Stella with runes on Ustyurt.  Photo: great-asia.ruAt a distance of 1 km from the Beit-1 is a complex known as Beit-2 the quarry where the white and pink limestone used for making sculptures was cut.

Photo: Stella with runes on Ustyurt. Photo: great-asia.ru

To the south-east of Beit-2, about 4 km away, there is a group of mounds known as complex Beit 3. Its layout resembles the layout of the complex Beat-1, but to the west of the central compact mound with the letter "P" lay 50 broken statues, but the mouth of the square set to the northwest.  Alsoi found are two stone sacrificial tables.


Lev Leonidovich Galkin  called this impressive spectacle "the gallery of the sun" He reported that at sunset, in the "land of the dead" all turned their faces … "

Photo: The torso of a warrior from the sanctury (L.Galkina) narod.ru

Part of the shape of the sanctuary Bailey.  Photo L.Galkina and Glazunov, magazine "Around the World" for 1990.  Photo: narod.ruOver time the statues in the sanctuary have fallen (or have been  knocked down)  and damaged. One sculptures (depicted to the left) was a man with a lowered right hand pressed against his thigh, and the left arm is bent at the elbow and pressed against her stomach. Prominent cheekbones their faces and in some cases the lack of beards suggests their Mongoloid origin. Some of the broken statues you can clearly see the relief images of swords, bows and daggers. By depicted in carvings and jewellery weapons scientists believe that these structures belong Massagets living in IV — III centuries BC.

According to Herodotus, Massagets fought both on horseback and on foot, their weapons consisted of bows, spears, daggers and battle axes. They worshiped the sun and dressed almost like the Scythians, and had a similar lifestyle. They believed in life after death, faith made them build the sanctuary of their ancestors and preserve them.

When the IV century BC. e. Alexander the Great came to the lands of Central Asia, among the most implacable enemies of the new invaders again stood warlike tribes Massagetae. It is believed that part Massaget and Sarmatian tribes, not succumbing to the invaders, went north, presumably on the Ustyurt plateau and Mangyshlak.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Geology of the Ustyurt


The Ustyurt is a low plateau in the north-westernmost part of the republic. It is located between the Mangyshlak and the Gulf of Kara-Bogaz-Gol on the Caspian Sea in the west, the Aral Sea and Amu Darya delta in the east.

The Ustyurt Plateau is a clay and stony desert with the total area of about 200 000 km². (77,000 square miles), with an average elevation of 150 meters (about 500 feet). It's highest point rises to a maximum of 1,200 feet (365 m) in the southwest. It consist of Sarmatian limestones (See below); its edges are separated from adjacent territories by steep scarps, sometimes by vertical slopes, while the surface is almost even, stony and gypsiferous.

At its edges it drops steeply to the Aral Sea and the surrounding plain. Its most characteristic features is the escarpment known as the Chink', a steep inaccessible slope with the height of about 190 m facing towards the Aral Sea (see picture above).

The dominant landscape is a desert plateau with little no vegetation or water. It once was the bottom of a dried-up sea (Tethys Sea), which existed here in the early and middle Cenozoic Era (some 21 million years ago). This is evidenced by shell traces in the limestone, as well as ferromanganese nodules scattered across the plateau which were formed on the bottom of the sea, and then, as more resistant to weathering, left on the surface while other limestone and dolomites were eroded. In places its flat desert terrain broken by chalk deposits in the form of rocks and random cracks looks like the Martian landscape.

The climate is continental and characterized by the coldest winters in Uzbekistan.(up to – 40 degrees C) , summers scorching (+50 degrees C) with heat searing the landscape with low rainfall. There are no permanent surface watercourses. The soils are brown-brown desert, composite soils. The vegetation consists of Anabasis salsa, Artemisia and Haloxylon. The zone is used as distant pastures. Oil and natural-gas deposits lie to the west of the plateau

The Ustyurt Plateau chalk rocks make an impressive sight at sunrise and sunset, when the white colour of the rocks are translated into shades of purple.

The varied flora and fauna of the Ustyurt. include colonies of gerbils, ground squirrels and jerboas and is home to a large number of birds of prey – eagles and vultures. The most interesting animals of the plateau is the endangered saiga and Ustyurt argali. The plateau’s semi nomadic population raises sheep, goats and camels. Also wild horses roam parts of the Ustyurt. Many plant and animal species living on the plateau are listed in the Red Book. Including the Central Asian tortoise. the sand cat as well as the cheetah, Ustyurt wolf, fox, corsac and jackal. The flora includes different types of polynyas, Anabasis salsa, sarsazan and other medicinal herbs.

NOTE: Sarmatian Stage, major division of Miocene rocks and time (23.7 to 5.3 million years ago). The Sarmatian Stage, which occurs between the Pontian and Tortonian stages, was named for Sarmatia, the ancient homeland of the Sarmatian tribes in what is presently southern European Russia, where important exposures are found. During the Miocene, a number of areas in western Europe became emergent, while sizable areas of eastern Europe were submerged by waters cut off from interchange with the oceans; these isolated, inland seas were freshened by the inflow of streams, resulting in the development of a very distinctive, lagoonal-type fossil fauna represented by peculiar species of clams, gastropods, and bryozoans. These animals were present in great abundance but exhibit little variety; almost no other kinds of animals occur. The bryozoans frequently occur in such local abundance that they form reef like masses. Sarmatian depositional basins fluctuated greatly from extremely salty to brackish.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Uzbekistan draw for preliminary round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Draw: 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Preliminary Qualification Round 2
Asia’s 2018 FIFA World Cup hopefuls learned their fate on Tuesday when the draw for the second round draw for the Asian qualification matches was held in Kuala Lumpur.
Uzbekistan has been drawn to play in Group H along with Bahrain, Philippines, DPR Korea and Yemen.  Qualification matches will be held from 11 June 2015 to 29 March 2016. The group winners and the four best runners-up (a total 12 teams) will advance to the final round of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup to be held in the Russian Federation. 

Source: http://www.uzdaily.com/articles-id-31857.htm

Monday, April 6, 2015

Highspeed Train "Afrosiyob" Tashkent - Samarkand



The luxury Talgo train known as the Afrosiyob operates between Samarkand and Tashkent (vice versa). Its maximum speed is 220 km/h. The Afrosiyob provides excellent comfort for all classes (Economy, Business and VIP). The average speed is 140 km/h, the Journey taking just 2:30 hrs to Samakand and 2:37 hrs to return to Tashkent.

Uz Daily has this week reported that Uzbekistan Temir Yollari is to  launch an additional Afrosiyob service between Tashkent-Samarkand-Tashkent.

Additional train Afrosiyob to be launched
The additional service will run from 10 April to 10 May 2015. The train will now run on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Leaving Tashkent at 07:00 and Samarkand at 18:00. 
(ED Great for weekend/day trips from the capital!)