Friday, November 20, 2015

Kyzyl Kum "Desert"

  


In Uzbek: Qizilqum, In Kazakh:Qyzylqum (Қызылқұм) is the 16th largest desert in the world covering about 300,000 km2. Its name means Red Sand in Turkic languages. It is located in Central Asia in between the rivers Amu Darya and Syr Darya south east of the Aral Sea, a region historically known as Transoxania or Sogdiana. Today it is divided between Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and (partly within) Turkmenistan. It consists of a plain sloping down toward the northwest, with a number of isolated bare mountains rising to a height of 922 m (Sultanuizdag) and several large enclosed basins. Precipitation,100–200 mm annually, occurs mainly in winter and spring.
 
Temperatures can be very high during the summer months, from mid-May to mid-September. The name Qyzlqum means Red Sand in Turkic languages. It is located in Central Asia in between the rivers Amu Darya and Syr Darya south east of the Aral Sea, a region historically known as Transoxania or Sogdiana. Today it is divided between Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and (partly within) Turkmenistan. It consists of a plain sloping down toward the northwest, with a number of isolated bare mountains rising to a height of 922 m (Sultanuizdag) and several large enclosed basins. Precipitation, 100–200 mm annually, occurs mainly in winter and spring. Temperatures can be very high during the summer months, from mid-May to mid-September.Although the desert has no surface streams, there are abundant reserves of fresh underground water. Most of the desert lies in the middle subzone of the temperate zone deserts; in the south it borders on subtropical deserts. Soils are gray-brown and sandy, and solonets and solonchak are also found.
 
The vegetation cover is rich in ephemerals. Sand sedge, white saxaul, Ammodendron conollyi, and Salsola richteri are common on the sand ridges, and wormwood grows on the clayey hills. Thickets of Anabasis salsa and saltworts are found in the northwest, and in the valleys of dry riverbeds are black saxaul woodlands. The desert is inhabited by animals adapted to living without watering places, getting all or most of their water from their food. To decrease their need for water, many of them are nocturnal. The mammals are represented by the Persian gazelle, long-clawed suslik, large-toothed suslik, gerbil, jerboa, sand and steppe cats, wolves, corsac fox, and Cape hare. Birds include the crested lark, desert warbler, houbara bustard, and saxaul jay. There are also snakes (saw-scaled viper, levantine viper, sand boa, and arrow snake), lizards, and Horsfield’s terrapin.
 
Desert fauna include the Russian tortoise (Testudo horsfieldii) and a large lizard known as the Transcaspian or Desert Monitor (Varanus griseus), which can reach lengths of 1.6 m. The Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica) also occasionally migrates through the northern part of the desert.

The economy is based on a growing mining industry and livestock raising. Livestock are mainly fine-fleeced karakul sheep, bactrian camels and dromedaries. In the central and western parts of the desert large artesian basins have been discovered and are being exploited in many areas. As a result of irrigation many small oases have been created, which are the centers for livestock farms. The livestock feed off forage from salinity tolerant crops (halophytes) and watered from artesian wells.The Kyzyl Kum is well known for its deposits of gold, uranium, copper, aluminium and silver, natural gas and oil. Also marble, graphite, and turquoise are extracted. The development of most the famous gold-field at Muruntau began in the early 1970s. The centres for the mining and smelting industry in the region are Navoi, Zarafshan city, Uchkuduk. In addition important natural-gas deposits are exploited at Gazli in the southeast and processed at nearby industrial town of Mubarek.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyzyl_Kum.