The Karakum Desert is located in Central Asia. It’s name originates from Turkic languages and the meaning of Karakum is “Black Sand”. The Karakum Desert stretches a distance of 800 miles from the center of Turkmenistan towards the direction of Afghanistan. Though the desert contains nothing but lots of sun-scorched dunes, as well as very little vegetation, it is still a famous tourist attraction.
Following are some informative facts about the Karakum Desert:
- This burning desert occupies roughly about 70% of Turkmenistan.
- It is considered to be the hottest of all Central Asia’s deserts. Yet, despite this fact, it is still able to provide ample support for some settlements. Two of these settlements are Mary and Tejen which are known for growing cotton.
- Rain fall in this area averages out to about 70 to 150 mm per year.
- On average, there is 1 person per 6.5km2 of desert.
- It occupies an area of 350000km2 making it the 13th largest desert in the world.
- In the heart of the Karakum Desert is the famous Darvaza Gas Crater also know as the ‘Door to Hell’. The crater was part of a natural gas field that collapsed in the 70s, into an underground cave. To prevent methane gas from spreading in the atmosphere, geologists set the methane filled crater on fire. Even after more than 40 years the methane hasn’t burnt out and the crater is still on fire.The total area of the crater is 5350m2. It has a total diameter of 69m and a depth of about 30m. The Darwaza Crater is an important tourist attraction because of this phenomena.
- The desert is also home to a mountain range called the Bolshoi (Big) Balkan Range. Archaeologists have found human remains from the stone age, in these mountains.
- Alexander The Great once marched his 60000 strong army through the desert.