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Kugitang Nature Reserve

Published: 13 july 2012

Kugitang Nature Reserve is located in the south-western slopes of the Koytendag mountains (the Kugitang range), at the south-western extreme of the Gissar range of the Pamir-Alay mountain system. Generally, it lies at elevations of 900-3139m above sea level, which it reaches at Ayrybaba (the highest peak of Turkmenistan). There are a substantial number of water bodies: karst lakes, freshwater springs and hydrogen sulphate wells. Koytendag is famous for its unique caves and other geological features (marble onyx), as well as its archa forest and species of rare plants and animals such as the blind cave loach which inhabits underground lakes in the karstic caves. Kugitang is also famous for its representing the main periods of Earth development, including the illustration of ancient life, significant geological processes in Earth surface forms development, essential geomorphological and physical-geographical particularities of relief. The site is composed of rocks of the Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cainozoic Eras rich with ancient fossils of Molluscs, Brachiopods, and dinosaurs - including a dinosaur footprint trail. At the base of the Koytendag Mountains there are igneous rocks, testament to ancient volcanism, as well as tectonic faults and canyons. The unique geological formations of Koytendag cave complex have no equal in Eurasia for the diversity of geological processes that formed them, as well as for the beauty of their geological phenomena.

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