Terrain shapes and bedrock
COUNTRYAAH, Turkmenistan is one in four fifths of plains. Only the
border regions in the south towards Iran and in the
southeast towards Afghanistan are highlands. The seismically
active mountain range Kopet-Dag forms a border with Iran.
Turkmenistan's highest peak, 2,942 meters above sea level.
A large sand desert, Karakum, occupies about 90% of
Turkmenistan. Large parts of the coastal zone along the
Caspian Sea are below sea level. The river Amu-Darja flows
through southeastern Turkmenistan, then crosses the border
and continues through Uzbekistan to the Aral Sea. The
Karakum Canal in the south-east diverts a not insignificant
part of the water from the river with the intention of
irrigating cotton crops in Karakum. Part of the land area
consists of dehydrated river channels and hard clay layers.
Oases are also found in some areas.
Turkmenistan has a continental climate with large
temperature differences during the day as well as the year.
During the summer days the temperature is rarely below 35 ～
C with max. 50 ～ C in Karakum. In winter, the temperature
can drop to -33 ～ C. Humidity is very low, and rain falls
mainly during the spring. The mountainous regions get 300 mm
per year and about 80 mm per year fall in the northwest.
Plant-and animal life
Most of Turkmenistan is covered by desert (in the
lowlands) or steppe vegetation (on the high plateaus), where
grasses (Agropyʹron, Festuʹca and spring
grasses), salt-resistant herbs (males and
Saʹlsola) and shrubs (Haloʹxylon and tamarisk)
predominate. In the spring, herbs bloom, e.g. wild tulips
and poppies. Along the rivers are gallery forests of poplar
and silver bushes (Elaeaʹgnus). In the
mountains over 1,500 m above sea level. grows very unified.
Grazing sheep and stray dromedaries have in many places
caused soil erosion.
Wildlife is locally rich, e.g. within the Badchyz Nature
Reserve in southern Turkmenistan. Rodents and many reptiles
are numerous in the desert and steppe areas. There are also
the bullet (a half-ass), gazelle (Gazeʹlla subgutturoʹsa),
crustacean (Vuʹlpes coʹrsac), gold shackle, wolf,
collar staircase (Chlamydoʹtis undulaʹta),
larches, bee-eaters and turtles. In the mountain areas there
are, among other things, argalif sheep, screw hornsget,
seized, greyhound, geese and caspish snow hen (Tetraogaʹllus
About 4% of the country enjoys nature protection. In
addition to Badchyz, there are several reserves, including
Krasnovodsk on the Caspian Sea as well as Kopet-Dag and
Chasardag in the mountains in the southwest. However, in
2011 Turkmenistan had not yet set aside any national park.