a mountain range in the western Turkmen SSR, separated from the Malyi Balkhan and the western tip of the Kopetdag Range by the dry river bed of the Uzboi. The Bol’shoi Balkhan is about 70 km long; its highest peak, Mount Arlan, has an elevation of 1,880 m. The range is an anticlinorium with a steep northern wing and a more sloping southern wing. The western continuation of its structure is buried under the most recent deposits of the Caspian plain. It is composed primarily of limestone and Jurassic and Cretaceous sandstone. The slopes are largely exposed, especially the almost vertical northern slopes; the southern side is furrowed by gulches. Desert (up to 800 m of elevation), semidesert, and mountain-steppe topography predominate, with drought-resistant mountain vegetation and sparse juniper groves. Scrub vegetation grows in the shaded crevices. Small sections of leveled land are used for dry farming. The petroleum deposits of Nebit-Dag are located nearby.
N. A. GVOZDETSKII