14 Hot Facts about the Karakum Desert

Karakum desert is one of the largest and the most beautiful deserts in the world. It covers a big portion of Central Asia. And, Its unique environment houses a variety of desert creatures and plants.

Due to the abundance of animal and plant life, the Karakum desert is lively compared to other deserts.

To give a detailed introduction about the desert, we have listed the most interesting facts. You may read them below.

1. The word “Karakum”, or “Garagum” as locals spell it, means a “black sand” in the Turkic language.

2. Its vast 350,000 km² (135 square miles) body covers about 70% of Turkmenistan’s territory.

3. About 30 million years ago, the area of the desert was completely covered by Sea.

4. The Great Silk Road, the network of ancient trade routes, crossed the Karakum desert.

5. In the past, people crossing the Karakum desert could measure the distances of their travel using the locations of desert wells. Also, those wells were a crucial water source for travelers, and for their camels.

6. The wells in Karakum desert are considered to be the deepest hand-dug wells in the World. Some of them are about 650 feet (200 meters) deep.

7. Dervaza Gas Crater, also known as “Door to Hell” by tourists, locates in the Karakum desert.

8. The climate of the desert known for its long and dry summers. Northern parts get 2.75 inches (70 mm) and southern parts get 6 inches (150 mm) of rain annually. Perception usually occurs during the spring and winter seasons.

9. The dry conditions of the desert led many officials to come up with new innovative projects that may contribute to agricultural advances. During the 1960s, the Soviet Union constructed the Karakum canal, which designed to take water from the Amu-Derya river and water the agricultural fields. Karakum canal is one of the largest desert irrigation projects in the world.

10. A population of Karakum desert is sparse. An overall population density of the desert equals to one person per 2.5 square miles.

11. During the 1940s and 50s, the Soviet archeologists found artifacts in Karakum desert which belong to the Stone and Bronze Ages. Historians are still finding artifacts that prove that the Karakum desert once housed the greatest civilizations of the world.

12. Kakarakum desert has vast reserves of natural gas. According to the surveys, the Karakum desert contains 4th largest gas reserves in the world, which is estimated to be 27 trillion cubic meters. However, that is not a conclusive report. The natural reserves of the desert may be many times greater than currently known.

13. Trees, grasses, and shrubs, such as saksaul, sand sedge, acacia, and flowering plants grow in the Karakum desert. Some of the vegetation used as hay for the livestock. Some areas of grasslands serve as grazing land for camels and sheep.

14. The primary dwellers of the desert are camels which are controlled by herdsmen. Due to their ability to survive a long time without water, camels do alright in those dry desert conditions.

Picture of Camels in a desert