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The Kyzyl Kum and Karakum Deserts

40.8N 67.0E

August 7th, 2009 Category: Lakes, Rivers

Kazakhstan - June 8th, 2009

Kazakhstan - June 8th, 2009

The terrain of Kazakhstan (above), Uzbekistan (middle) and Turkmenistan (below) seems to alternate between rivers and sandy deserts. Part of the Aral Sea can also be noted at the top left, as well as Aydar Lake just right of the center.

The Syr Darya River can be seen at the top, the Amu Darya through the center, and the Morghāb River near the bottom. There are agricultural settlements along all the rivers.

Stretching between the former two is the Kyzyl Kum, the 11th largest desert in the world, divided between Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and (partly) Turkmenistan. It covers about 298,000 km² (approximately 115,000 sq mi).

The territory consists mainly of an extensive plain at an altitude up to 300 m (about 1000 feet) above sea level, with a number of the depressions and highlands. Most of the area is covered with sand-dunes, while in the North-West large areas are covered with takirs (clay coatings) and there are also some oases.

To the south, between the Amu Darya and the Morghāb, is the Karakum Desert. It occupies about 70 percent, or 350,000 km², of the area of Turkmenistan.

The population is sparse, with an average of one person per 6.5 km² (one person per 2.5 square miles). Rainfall is equally sparse, where precipitation comes maybe once a decade.

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