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Zhygylgan downwarping on Mangyshlak.

Mangyshlak road trip.

“Thought is invisible nature”

Heinrich Heine.

Excursion rounds and rest on Mangyshlak.

Zhygylgan (in Kazakh - fallen earth). We're heading North on the road leading to Fort-Shevchenko. We are on our way past the village of Telman, past the fork 43 km (left - Cape Sagyndyk, right - Kalamkas, Karaghambas, Shetpe).
As soon as we crossed the steppe road Fort-Shevchenko - Tauchik, felt the breath of the sea. Going past the old Turkmen cemetery. We're almost there. Another few miles and stop at the edge of a giant basin, this is gigalan - Fallen Earth, the edge of which is almost a perfect circle with a diameter of 10 kilometers.
If not the sea, with one hand around the Fallen Earth, this place would be like a huge bowl filled with a jumble of rocks resembling ruins of castles, circuses arena, huge walls of the ruined city, quarry.
Come to the edge of depression. An extraordinary sight completes one section of the Northern edge of Tupkaragan plateau. At the entrance is almost flat and seemingly endless steppe suddenly breaks off steep cliffs in the shape of a Crescent stretching over 3 km, and the height of the steep walls in some places reaches a height of 50 meters.
At the base of the wall is stone unimaginable chaos. Here, massive limestone slab thickness 30 - 35 meters, and this forms the surface of Tupkaragan plateau, fell into a certain emptiness turned into a pile of cracked massive blocks, walls and towers.
This natural "dump" stretches 4 km to the sea. Zhygylgan is a huge geologic landslide caused by the wetting of clayey-sand cushion on which rested the limestone layer. It is very likely that this area of Tupkaragan "armor" could have moved as a result of a powerful quake.
Heavy slab own weight squeezed soft bedding and threw it into the sea, and turned itself into stirring the imagination. It is likely that the landslide occurred in historically recent times. Destroying calcareous armour, nature gave us a singular piece of bygone life on earth.
It is believed that the limestone shell of Ustyurt and Mangyshlak formed sedimentary rocks of marine origin. But the split blocks opened up a whole layer of fossilized mud formed an ancient pond or a shallow.
The mud was so thick and plastic that had preserved the footprints of animals that visited this place about 10 - 15 million years ago. In paleontology is well known bone remains of three-toed ancestors of the horse (or meegepost...) and saber-toothed cats (machairodus), but few have seen the traces of these animals.
Zhygylgan gave people a rare opportunity to contemplate the extraordinary spectacle – the wreckage of plates with imprints on their surface chains fossilized tracks of large and small cats, and deeply stuck in the mud on hooves with two bone spikes back small horses.
There is a small salt lake, the density of water which helps to keep afloat the human body. Somewhere hiding in the clefts of the glade with just exceptional plants for the zone of deserts and semi-deserts – ferns.
Here can be saved from hunters mountain sheep – mouflon. Zhygylgan was a natural place of refuge for people in ancient times. Archaeologists know in the chaos of stone, three half-ruined fortress of the XIV – XV centuries and the mass of the rock paintings.
And with all this zhygylgan remains a place far from the known and the mysterious. They say that spirits live here. 

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Authority:
Antonina, Andrey Astafyev, the city of Aktau.

Photos
Aleхander Petrov.