Geography of Turkmenistan


Terrain shapes and bedrock

According to 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.


According to BRIDGAT, 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 caʹspius).

Nature conservation

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.