Paropamisus

Paropamisus

(pâr'əpăm`ĭsəs, –pəmī`səs), mountain range, NW Afghanistan, stretching c.300 mi (480 km) W from the Hindu Kush toward the Elburz Mts. in Iran; rises to c.11,000 ft (3,350 m). Silver and lead deposits are found there. The MurgabMurgab
, river, 530 mi (853 km) long, rising in the Paropamisus range, NE Afghanistan, flowing NW into Turkmenistan, to the Merv oasis, and disappearing into the Kara Kum desert, SE Turkmenistan; it forms part of the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan border.
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 and Hari Rud rivers rise in the Paropamisus.

Paropamisus

 

a mountain system in northwestern Afghanistan (the northern foothills of the Badkhyz and Karabil’ rises are part of the Turkmen SSR). The Paropamisus Mountains are among the northern border mountains of the Iranian Plateau. They consist of sublatitudinally placed peaks (Band-I-Turkistan, Safed Koh, Siah Koh) broken by longitudinal valleys in the upper reaches of such rivers as the Hari Rud and Murghab. The range is approximately 600 km long and up to 250 km wide. The predominant elevation of the peaks is 3,000–3,500 m (maximum 4,565 m in the east, at Hisar Range, near the border of the Paropamisus Mountains and the Hindu Kush).

In the narrow sense, Paropamisus is only one of the ranges of the mountain system between the meridional cuts of the upper courses of the Hari Rud and Murghab rivers, extending about 200 km in length. The mountains are composed mainly of limestone and shale; granite and gneiss predominate in the south and east. They are cut by numerous gorges, and there are extensive areas of talus. The northern foothills are covered with loess. The climate is continental and subtropical. In the valleys the temperature is 24–30°C in July and 0°-8°C in January. The annual precipitation ranges from 100–200 mm in the foothills to 350 mm and more in the mountains. The maximum precipitation falls in the winter and spring. In the northern foothills there are sedge-meadowgrass-ephemeral wastelands with gray soil. In regions with higher elevations there are mountain semideserts and steppes with thorny cushion plant formations and sparse juniper thickets on brown mountain soil. There are few forested areas. In places, there are sparse stands of pistachio (in the Badkhyz Preserve), and on the northern slopes there are sections of broad-leaved forest. Mountain goats and argali live in the mountains, and there are goitered gazelles and Asiatic wild asses in the plains below the mountains. Rodents and reptiles are numerous. There are oases in the intermontane valleys, where wheat and subtropical fruits and vegetables are cultivated. The largest oasis is Herat. In the mountains there is transhumant cattle raising.

M. P. PETROV

References in periodicals archive ?
The true desert's northern boundary can be said to follow the 48th parallel (48[degrees]N), while the southern edge coincides with the piedmonts of the Kopet-Dag and the Paropamisus mountains.