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Glaciers of Zeravshan.

Tourist travel in Tajikistan.

“Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you've never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground” 

Judith Thurman.

Travel on Zeravshan mountains in Tajikistan.

The Zeravshan glacier is located in the Sogd region of Tajikistan on the southern slope of the Turkestan ridge, and belongs to the Zarafshan river basin. In the headwaters of the Matcha river is the largest Gissar-Alai glacier - Zeravshan (27.8 kilometers long, 132.6 kilometers square, ice volume about 15 kilometers cubic).
This is a dendritic glacier consisting of a main stream and 20 tributary glaciers. Main The source of the Zeravshan glacier begins at the junction of the ranges of Turkestan, Alai and Zeravshan. It flows first to the south, and then near the Matcha pass 4008 meters above sea level, it turns west.
The firn area of ​​this stream is relatively small, and the glacier receives the main food through tributaries originating on the southern slope of the Turkestan ridge. These are complex valley glaciers occurring in well-developed transverse valleys - the Farakhnau, Tolstov, Skachkova, Miramin and other glaciers.
The left tributaries descending from the northern slope of the Zerafshan ridge are not large and steep. The relatively narrow (1.5 kilometers) and long part of the Zeravshan glacier with an average surface slope of about 8 ° descends along a longitudinal valley between the Turkestan and Zeravshan ranges to an altitude of 2810 meters above sea level and ends with a cliff, from which the Matcha River bursts out from a grotto.
The surface of the glacier is characterized by median moraines and numerous ablative relief forms. Gradually, the middle moraines merge with each other, and the lower part of the glacier for 10 kilometers is completely covered with a moraine cover.
There are often icy hills covered by moraine, at the foot of which lie small lakes. The speed of the Zeravshan glacier decreases from 20 - 25 centimeters per day in the upper part of the tongue to 0 centimeters per day at its end.
The average thickness of the glacier is 200 meters. Since the end of the last century, the glacier has receded, and its the right side, which receives more powerful tributaries, recedes more slowly than the left. The long-term negative balance of the glacier is also indicated by the separation of some tributaries from it and a general decrease in the surface, which is equal to an average of 60 centimeters a year (Largest Glaciers. 1967).
The two largest glaciers - Zerafshansky and Preobrazhensky-Rama - occupy 53% of the total glaciation area of ​​the southern slope of the Turkestan Range, and in general, valley glaciers, which make up about 40% of the total number of glaciers, account for more than 80% of the total area.
Another 2 glaciers have an area of ​​more than 5 square kilometers each, but mostly glaciers small: 85% of all glaciers on the southern slope of the Turkestan ridge are less than 1.1 square kilometers, their area is about 20% of the total.

"Glaciers." L.D. Dolgushin, G.B. Osipova. Series "Nature of the world." Moscow, the publishing house "Thought". 1989.