Residents of the state of Kazakhstan, which occupies territory in the Central Asian region, know firsthand what deserts or semi-deserts are and how difficult it is to survive in their conditions. The Betpak-Dala Desert is also included in the list of arid regions of the country, occupying significant areas.
Geography of the Betpak-Dala Desert
The political map of Kazakhstan shows that the territory of the Betpak-Dala desert occupies several regions of the country. Firstly, it captured part of the Karaganda region, and secondly, part of the desert lands belong to the South Kazakhstan region. Thirdly, residents of the Zhambyl region of Kazakhstan are also familiar with Betpak-Dala, which is also called the Northern Hungry Steppe.
There are several versions of the translation of the name of the desert into Russian. According to one of them, rather dubious, "batnak" in translation from the Turkic language means "boggy". Much closer to the truth is the Persian word "bedbakht" - ill-fated, from the Kazakh language there is a variant of translation as "shameless plain".
A geographic map of the area allows you to see what water bodies are located in the immediate vicinity of this arid region. The desert is surrounded by the following water sources: Sarysu river (its lower course); the legendary Kazakh river Chu; no less famous lake Balkhash.
The presence of natural reservoirs does not prevent the Betpak-Dala desert from remaining an extremely arid region of the country. On the other hand, in close neighbors near the desert there is the Kazakh Upland.
Some important facts about this region
The area of the desert is 75 thousand square kilometers, it cannot be said that it is ready to press the record holders. There are desert territories on the planet, the area of which is many times larger than the Betpak-Dala desert, on the other hand, and no one will call it a "tiny desert", especially the one who happens to get to know it better.
Most of the territory of the Betpak-Dala Desert is flat, but since the basis is still a plateau, in some places one can observe the appearance of hills, separated by rather large depressions. The morphological structure is heterogeneous; the relief contains sand, clay, and pebbles. The latter suggests that the now deserted territories at one time were related to the world's oceans.
The above, the so-called paleogene loose rocks are characteristic of the western part of the Betpak-Dala desert. Its eastern part is composed of sedimentary metamorphic strata, as well as granites.
The climate of the desert is continental, characterized by a minimum amount of precipitation, which varies from 100 to 150 mm per year, and only 15% falls in the summer. Therefore, summer is the hottest period in Betpak-Dala, winter is characterized by moderate cold, precipitation in the form of snow is also quite rare.
To the history of study
The Betpak-Dala Desert has always been an object of interest from scientists. Over the centuries, these lands have seen numerous expeditions studying various aspects of life in this corner of the planet. For an ordinary reader, the materials obtained as a result of an expedition organized in 1936 by the zoologist V. A. Selevin are the most accessible. Artistically reworked the research results and presented them to the public by MD Zverev in the book "The End of the White Spot". Selevin and his fellow zoologists studied the representatives of the Askazasor fossil fauna, carrying out excavations in large areas.
The intriguing title of Zverev's book suggests that there are no more white spots in the Betpak-Dala desert. But this statement is incorrect, as practice shows, each subsequent expedition made its own adjustments to the results of previous studies. There are fewer white spots, but the study of the territories can be continued endlessly.
Moreover, there are many legends and tales associated with these little-studied territories. The ancestors of the modern inhabitants of this region revered the desert as a sacred place where the heroes - batyrs - found their last refuge. The creation of such fairy tales was facilitated by the local fantastic landscapes, hills and valleys, plateaus and plains.
There have never been indigenous people on these lands, although Kazakhs crossed the desert twice a year, driving herds. No one thought about staying permanently, since the local flora is very scarce and could not provide food for livestock, besides, in principle, there are no watering places.
The gradual development of the Betpak-Dala desert is due to the fact that geologists have found uranium in this region. In this regard, the first village of Kyzimshek (the second name is Stepnoye), in which uranium miners live, appeared on the territory of the South Kazakhstan region.