The Garabogazköl Aylagy or Kara-Bogaz-Gol (Turkmen: Кара-Богаз-Гол, lit. black (or mighty) strait lake) is a shallow inundated depression in the northwestern corner of Turkmenistan.[1] It forms a lagoon of the Caspian Sea with a surface area of about 18,000 km2 (6,900 sq mi).[2] It is separated from the Caspian Sea proper, which lies immediately to the west, by a narrow, rocky ridge having a very narrow opening in the rock through which the Caspian waters flow, cascading down into Garabogazköl, leading to the Turkmen language name of the bay, "Mighty Strait Lake". The water volume of the bay fluctuates seasonally with the Caspian Sea; at times it becomes a large bay of the Caspian Sea, while at other times its water level drops drastically.

The city of Garabogaz (formerly Bekdaş) lies on the ridge, about 50 km (31 mi) north of the channel between the main Caspian basin and the Garabogazköl lagoon. The town has a population of about 10,000.

Kara-Bogaz Gol from space, September 1995
Kara-Bogaz Gol from space, September 1995
Garabogazköl is located in Caspian Sea
Coordinates41°21′07″N 53°35′43″E / 41.35194°N 53.59528°ECoordinates: 41°21′07″N 53°35′43″E / 41.35194°N 53.59528°E
Native nameКара-Богаз-Гол  (Turkmen)


The salinity of the bay is about 35%, compared to the Caspian Sea's 1.2%,[3] and 3–4% for the bulk of the world's oceans. Because of the exceptionally high salinity, comparable to the Dead Sea, it has practically no marine vegetation. Large evaporite, mostly salt deposits accumulated at the south shore, were harvested by the local population since the 1920s, but in the 1930s manual collection stopped and the industry shifted northwest to its present center near Garabogaz. From the 1950s on, ground water was pumped from levels lower than the bay itself, yielding more valuable types of salts. In 1963 construction began at Garabogaz on a modern plant for increased production of salines all the year round and independently of natural evaporation. This plant was completed in 1973.

Kara-Bogaz-Gol inlet from the Caspian STS111
Waters flow through the narrow inlet from the Caspian (left) into the Garabogazköl
Caspian Sea from orbit
The Garabogazköl is visible on the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea

In March 1980, the barrier to the Caspian was blocked, due to concerns evaporation was accelerating a fall in Caspian Sea level, reducing water levels.[2] The resulting "salt bowl" caused widespread problems of blowing salt,[4] reportedly poisoning the soil and causing health problems for hundreds of kilometers downwind to the east. In 1984 the lake was completely dry. In June 1992, when Caspian Sea levels were rising again, the barrier was breached, allowing Caspian water to again refill Garabogazköl. The remnants of the breached dam can be seen in the satellite photo of the inlet, near the Caspian Sea entrance.

Garabogazköl (right) visible from a bridge on a barrier separating it from the Caspian Sea (left)
Garabogazköl (right) visible from a bridge on a barrier separating it from the Caspian Sea (left)

In popular culture

The bay is also the subject of the "socialist-realist" writer Konstantin Paustovsky's, 1932 book Kara-Bogaz, which praised the development of the salt industry in the area by the Soviet government in the 1930s.[5][6][7]


  1. ^ "Turkmenistan". Geo-Data: The World Geographical Encyclopedia. 2003 – via HighBeam Research. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. ^ a b Kosarev, Aleksey; Kostianoy, Andrey; Zonn, Igor (2008-11-02). Kara-Bogaz-Gol Bay: Physical and Chemical Evolution (Report).
  3. ^ Aladin, Nicolai; Plotnikov, Igor (2004). Lake Basin Management Initiative - The Caspian Sea (PDF) (Report).
  4. ^ Micklin, Philip P. Environmental Resources and Constraints in the Former Soviet Republics (1994). The National Council for Soviet and Eastern European Research. Page 9.
  5. ^ Konstantin Paustovsky (1977) The Black Gulf, Hyperion Press, Westport, Conn. ISBN 978-0-88355-411-1
  6. ^ Priestland, David (October 1, 2010). "Engineers of the Soul". History Today – via Highbeam Research.
  7. ^ Ruch, Julie Ella (Spring 2013). "Engineers of the Soul: The Grandiose Propaganda of Stalin's Russia". Canadian Slavonic Papers. 55 (1/2): 246–247. ISSN 0008-5006 – via ProQuest Research Library.

External links

53rd meridian east

The meridian 53° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.

The 53rd meridian east forms a great circle with the 127th meridian west.

54th meridian east

The meridian 54° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.

The 54th meridian east forms a great circle with the 126th meridian west.

Caspian Sea

The Caspian Sea is the world's largest inland body of water, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. It is an endorheic basin (a basin without outflows) located between Europe and Asia, to the east of the Caucasus Mountains and to the west of the broad steppe of Central Asia. The sea has a surface area of 371,000 km2 (143,200 sq mi) (excluding the detached lagoon of Garabogazköl) and a volume of 78,200 km3 (18,800 cu mi). It has a salinity of approximately 1.2% (12 g/l), about a third of the salinity of most seawater. It is bounded by Kazakhstan to the northeast, Russia to the northwest, Azerbaijan to the west, Iran to the south, and Turkmenistan to the southeast. The Caspian Sea is home to a wide range of species and may be best known for its caviar and oil industries. Pollution from the oil industry and dams on rivers draining into the Caspian Sea have had negative effects on the organisms living in the sea.

The wide and endorheic Caspian Sea has a north–south orientation and its main freshwater inflow, the Volga River, enters at the shallow north end. Two deep basins occupy its central and southern areas. These lead to horizontal differences in temperature, salinity, and ecology. The Caspian Sea spreads out over nearly 750 miles (1,200 km) from north to south, with an average width of 200 miles (320 km). It covers a region of around 149,200 square miles (386,400 square km) and its surface is about 90 feet (27 meters) below sea level. The sea bed in the southern part reaches as low as 1,023 m (3,356 ft) below sea level, which is the second lowest natural depression on Earth after Lake Baikal (−1,180 m, −3,871 ft). The ancient inhabitants of its coast perceived the Caspian Sea as an ocean, probably because of its saltiness and large size.

Dead Sea

The Dead Sea (Hebrew: יָם הַמֶּלַח Yam ha-Melah lit. Sea of Salt; Arabic: البحر الميت‎ Al-Bahr al-Mayyit) is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River.

Its surface and shores are 430.5 metres (1,412 ft) below sea level, Earth's lowest elevation on land. It is 304 m (997 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With a salinity of 342 g/kg, or 34.2% (in 2011), it is one of the world's saltiest bodies of water – 9.6 times as salty as the ocean – and has a density of 1.24 kg/litre, which makes swimming similar to floating. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which plants and animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea's main, northern basin is 50 kilometres (31 mi) long and 15 kilometres (9 mi) wide at its widest point.The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean Basin for thousands of years. It was one of the world's first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilisers.

The Dead Sea is receding at a swift rate; its surface area today is 605 km2 (234 sq mi), having been 1,050 km2 (410 sq mi) in 1930. The recession of the Dead Sea has begun causing problems, and multiple canals and pipelines proposals exist to reduce its recession. One of these proposals is the Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance project, carried out by Jordan, which will provide water to neighbouring countries, while the brine will be carried to the Dead Sea to help stabilise its water level. The first phase of the project is scheduled to begin in 2018 and be completed in 2021.


Evaporite ( ) is the term for a water-soluble mineral sediment that results from concentration and crystallization by evaporation from an aqueous solution. There are two types of evaporite deposits: marine, which can also be described as ocean deposits, and non-marine, which are found in standing bodies of water such as lakes. Evaporites are considered sedimentary rocks and are formed by chemical sediments.


Garabogaz (pronounced [ʁɑɾɑboˈʁɑð]) is a city in Turkmenistan, part of the Balkan Province. Until 2002, it was named Bekdaş [bekˈdɑʃ].

The city is located on a ridge which divides the Garabogazköl lagoon from the Caspian Sea. The city has abundant and varied mineral resources from the Garabogazköl. It is one of few places in the world where naturally deposited sodium sulphate exists in commercially exploitable quantities.

Prior to 1932 the town lay in what is now Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan border

The Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan border is 413km (257m) in length and runs from the Caspian Sea to the tripoint with Uzbekistan. It is the shortest international boundary of both states.

Krasnovodsk Peninsula

The Krasnovodsk Peninsula (Russian: Красноводский полуостров) is a large peninsula located in western Turkmenistan.

List of bodies of water by salinity

This is a list of bodies of water by salinity that is limited to natural bodies of water that have a stable salinity above 0.05%, at or below which water is considered fresh.

Water salinity often varies by location and season, particularly with hypersaline lakes in arid areas, so the salinity figures in the table below should be interpreted as an approximate indicator.

List of cities, towns and villages in Turkmenistan

An A-Z list of settlements in Turkmenistan. For a list of the main cities and towns see the list of cities in Turkmenistan.

List of lakes by area

This is a list of terrestrial lakes with a surface area of more than approximately 2,000 square kilometres (800 sq mi), ranked by area. This list does not include reservoirs or lagoons.

The area of some lakes can vary considerably over time, either seasonally or from year to year. This is especially true of salt lakes in arid climates.

List of satellite map images with missing or unclear data

This is a list of satellite map images with missing or unclear data. Some locations on free, publicly viewable satellite map services have such issues due to having been intentionally digitally obscured or blurred for various reasons. For example, Westchester County, New York asked Google to blur potential terrorism targets (such as an amusement park, a beach, and parking lots) from its satellite imagery. There are cases where the censorship of certain sites was subsequently removed. For example, when Google Maps and Google Earth were launched, images of the White House and United States Capitol were blurred out; however, these sites are now uncensored.

Salt dome

A salt dome is a type of structural dome formed when a thick bed of evaporite minerals (mainly salt, or halite) found at depth intrudes vertically into surrounding rock strata, forming a diapir. It is important in petroleum geology because salt structures are impermeable and can lead to the formation of a stratigraphic trap.

Wildlife of Turkmenistan

The wildlife of Turkmenistan is the flora and fauna of Turkmenistan, and the natural habitats in which they live. Turkmenistan is a country in Central Asia to the east of the Caspian Sea. Two thirds of the country is hot dry plains and desert, and the rest is more mountainous. Very little rain falls in summer and the chief precipitation occurs in the southern part of the country in the winter and spring. The Caspian coast has milder winters.

The desert sees limited plant growth in the winter, with grasses and xeric plants and shrubs sprouting, and with the arrival of spring, the rains encourage the growth and flowering of ephemeral plants. The mountains in the south of the country are covered in shrublike and juniper woodlands, and larger trees grow in the gullies and river valleys.

A wide range of animals are found in Turkmenistan, including 91 species of mammal, 82 species of reptile and nearly 400 species of bird. A number of nature reserves and sanctuaries have been created for the preservation of the natural landscapes and the conservation of the wildlife.


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