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Kyzylkum Desert

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"The wind changes the shape of sand dunes, but the desert is the same." 
(Paulo Coelho)

Deserts make up 23% of the area of ​​all continents of the globe. Deserts of Central Asia include the Ustyurt plateau between the Aral and Caspian seas, the Karakum to the south of the Aral Sea and Kyzyl-Kum to the southeast of it. These three desert regions form a vast basin of internal drainage, where rivers flow into the Aral or Caspian Sea. Three quarters of the area is occupied by desert plains, bounded by high mountain ranges of Kopetdag, Hindu Kush and Alai. Karakum and Kyzyl-Kum are sandy deserts with dune ridges, many of which are fixed by vegetation. Deserts are not just sand. The soils of the deserts of Central Asia are also represented by clayey, gray-brown, gypsum, takyr soils. Widespread among soils of the desert zone and solonchaks are soils containing a large number of water-soluble salts.

About 75% of the territory of Uzbekistan is occupied by deserts. The Kyzyl-Kum Desert is the largest desert in the territory of Uzbekistan. Kyzyl-Kum - still has the second name - the Red Sands. The reddish coloration is found here by sands formed by the weathering and waving of the base sandy deposits. The surface of the desert has a gentle general slope from the south-east to the north-west, to the coast of the Aral Sea. It is here that the driest place in the whole country and this sandy boundlessness is one of the most popular and famous deserts in the whole world.

The Kyzyl-Kum desert in the northwest is bounded by the Aral Sea, in the north-east by the Syrdarya, in the east by the spurs of the Tien Shan and Pamir-Alai, in the southwest by the Amu Darya. The desert area is about 300 thousand square kilometers. In summer there is unbearable heat, and in winter the icy winds blow in the face.

Temperatures in summer are high, and in winter they drop to 2 ° ... -4 ° C. The annual precipitation does not exceed 150 mm, but on mountain slopes it can reach 350 mm. Snow on the plains is rare, in the mountains it is quite common. The main source of irrigation waters is the Amudarya and Syr Darya rivers that originate in the mountains.

The Kyzyl-Kum Desert is a plain with the remnant mountains, composed of rocks of the Paleozoic era. Most of it is occupied by sandy ridges, reaching heights from 3 to 75 meters. The plain part of Kyzyl-Kum consists of Cenozoic clays and sandstones, in the north-west and north there are river deposits of the ancient channels of the Syr Darya and the Amudarya, once flowing into the Aral Sea.

What does desert vegetation live by? As they say: "There is sand - there is water". The sand, like a diligent host, drops every drop of water on it in the form of rain or snow, and immediately hides from the hot rays of the sun into deep underground storerooms. Under the Kyzyl-Kum desert at a depth of one hundred meters or more, there are invisible lakes and whole seas of fresh and semi-fresh water. The most valuable varieties of cotton, wheat and other grains are grown on irrigated lands, however high evaporation contributes to salinization of the soil, which hampers the normal development of plants. From minerals, gold, copper and oil are mined.

 There are Kyzyl-Kum and oases that have arisen due to human activities to water areas from artesian wells. Where exactly oases are located, it is simple to define - there are cities, towns, experimental agricultural stations with a small but economically active population: in the harsh conditions of the desert, it is impossible to do anything without doing anything, and the tolerable living conditions are not easy to achieve. These are Navoi, Zarafshan and Uchkuduk.

 

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