Karakum Desert

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For the desert in Kazakhstan, see Aral Karakum.

The Karakum Desert, also spelled Kara-Kum and Gara Gum (“Black Sand”) (Turkmen: Garagum, Russian: Каракумы) is a desert in Central Asia. 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 sq miles).

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[edit] Location

It lies east of the Caspian Sea, with the Aral Sea to the north and the Amu Darya river and the Kyzyl Kum desert to the northeast.

[edit] Hydrography

The Murghab and Tejen rivers flow out of the Hindu Kush Mountains to the south and empty into the desert, providing water for irrigation.

The desert is crossed by the largest irrigation canal in the world, the Qaraqum Canal. The canal was started in 1954, is 1,375 km in length, and carries 13-20 km³ of water annually. Unfortunately, leakages from the canal have created lakes and ponds along the canal and the rise in groundwater has caused widespread soil salination.

[edit] Economy and resources

The oases of Mary and Tejen are noted for cotton growing.

The area has significant oil and natural gas deposits.

[edit] Transportation

The desert is crossed by the Trans-Caspian railway.

[edit] See also

Deserts
Ad-Dahna | Alvord | Arabian | Aral Karakum | Atacama | Baja California | Barsuki | Betpak-Dala | Chalbi | Chihuahuan | Dasht-e Kavir | Dasht-e Lut | Dasht-e Margoh | Dasht-e Naomid | Gibson | Gobi | Great Basin | Great Sandy Desert | Great Victoria Desert | Kalahari | Karakum | Kyzylkum | Little Sandy Desert | Mojave | Namib | Nefud | Negev | Nubian | Ordos | Owyhee | Qaidam | Registan | Rub' al Khali | Ryn-Peski | Sahara | Saryesik-Atyrau | Sechura | Simpson | Sonoran | Strzelecki | Syrian | Taklamakan | Tanami | Thar | Tihamah | Ustyurt
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