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Amu Darya River in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan

41.1N 61.8E

March 29th, 2010 Category: Rivers

Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan - March 5th, 2010

Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan - March 5th, 2010

The Amu Darya, also called Oxus and Amu River, is a major river in Central Asia, seen here running along the border of Uzbekistan (above) and Turkmenistan (below). It is formed by the junction of the Vakhsh and Panj Rivers.

The river’s total length is 2,400 kilometres (1,500 mi) and its drainage basin totals 534,739 square kilometres (206,464 sq mi) in area, providing a mean discharge of around 97.4 cubic kilometres (23.4 cu mi) of water per year. The river is navigable for over 1,450 kilometres (900 mi).

All of the water comes from the high mountains in the south where annual precipitation can be over 1,000 mm (39 in). Even before large-scale irrigation began, high summer evaporation meant that not all of this discharge reached the Aral Sea to the north – though there is some evidence the large Pamir glaciers provided enough melt water for the Aral to overflow during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries A.D.

Use of water from the Amu Darya for irrigation has been a major contributing factor to the shrinking of the Aral Sea since the late 1950s. About 1,385,045 square kilometres (534,769 sq mi) of land is drained by the Amu Darya into the Aral Sea endorheic basin. This includes most of Tajikistan, the southwest corner of Kyrgyzstan, the northeast corner of Afghanistan, a long narrow portion of western Turkmenistan and about half of Uzbekistan.

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