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Zeravshan(zyĕrəfshän`), river, c.460 mi (740 km) long, rising in the Turkistan Range of the Pamir-Alai mountain system, in Tajikistan. It flows westward through the agricultural Zeravshan valley, then into Uzbekistan, past Samarkand and Bukhara, and disappears in the desert near the Amu Darya, N of Chärjew. The valley, irrigated by the Katta-Kurgan reservoir, is one of the chief oases of Central Asia and is on the site of the ancient Sogdiana. The Zeravshan Mountains, forming the southern watershed of the river, rise to c.18,480 ft (5,630 m). The range has coal and ore deposits.
an urban-type settlement in Aini Raion, Leninabad Oblast, Tadzhik SSR. It is situated on the northern slope of the Gissar Range, 229 km southeast of the Samarkand railroad station. A mineral-extracting industry is located there.
a mountain range in the Pamir-Altai system in Middle Asia, south of the Zeravshan River.
Approximately 370 km long, the Zeravshan Range on the east (up to the Fandar’ia River) is narrow with peaks 4,500–5,000 m high; at its center, it consists of several short chains rising from north to south (highest point, Mount Chimtarga, 5,489 m) and covered with glaciers. West of Magian, the range gradually dips. The Zeravshan has a series of longitudinal depressions (grabens) and through valleys. It is formed basically of crystalline shales and limestones and partially of granites (mainly in the west). There is developed karst topography in the limestones. The slopes of the range are covered with thin forests (mainly savin), mountain steppes, rarefied high-mountain boulder and scree flora, and, in places, alpine meadows.
a river in Middle Asia (called the Matcha in its upper reaches). Length 877 km; drainage basin area, 17,700 sq km.
The Zeravshan River begins in the Tadzhik SSR; it flows from the Zeravshan glacier in the Koksu mountain complex, which lies at the intersection of the Turkestan and Zeravshan ranges at an elevation of about 2,800 m. For its first 300 km the Zeravshan flows in a deep narrow valley, where it is joined by major left-side tributaries: the Fandar’ia, Kshtut, and Magian. From below Pendzhikent, where the level part of the valley begins, the Zeravshan does not receive a single major tributary for its entire length. Near Samarkand the river breaks into two channels, the Akdar’ia (northern) and Karadar’ia (southern), which come back together near the kishlak (hamlet) of Khatyrchi. Miankale Island lies between the channels. The Bukhara and Karakul’ oases are located in the lower course of the Zeravshan, where it is known as the Karakul’dar’ia. The Zeravshan dries up without reaching the Amu Darya. It is fed by snow and glaciers. The largest flow of water is in July (250–690 cu m per sec), and the smallest is in March (28–60 cu m per sec); the average annual flow below the mouth of the Magian is 162 cu m per sec. The waters of the Zeravshan are entirely used for irrigation. The Kattakurgan and Kuiumazarskoe reservoirs have been built. The lower part of the Zeravshan is fed by waters from the Amu Darya through the Amu-Bukhara irrigation canal. The valley of the Zeravshan is densely populated, especially within the Uzbek SSR, where the cities of Samarkand, Kattakurgan, Navoi, Bukhara, and Kagan are located.
REFERENCEShul’ts, V. L. Reki Srednei Azii, parts 1–2. Leningrad, 1965.
V. L. SHUL’TS