Eastward of the Caspian Sea shores, on the Mangyshlak peninsula, there is a unique place being at the fifth position in the top of our planet’s locations that are below sea level. This is the famous Karagiye Depression.
Its name is referred to the Turkic word ‘karakiya’. Here ‘kara’ means black, and ‘kiya’ – the steep slope, which very accurately displays the character of this steep-sloped depression. According to the other version, the meaning of this word is ‘the black fauces’. The second title of the depression, Batyr, takes it origin from the Turkic tribal name batyr (which means ‘warrior’).
The legendary depression is located fifty km from Aktau towards Zhanaozen. This is a vast territory that once had been the part of the Caspian Sea, and it occupies the land area of about 2,000 sq.km. The depression is about 25 km wide and 85 km long.
The lowest depression of the world is considered to be the Ghor, which grasps the pieces of Israel, Jordan, and Syria territories. Its depth equals to 395 m below sea level. The second deepest one in the world is the Turfan Depression in China, with the depth of 154 m. The third one is the Afar Depression in the Republic of Djibouti, 153m, then the Qattara Depression in Egypt, 133 m, and then our Kazakhstani one, the Karagiye Depression, 132 m deep.
Karagiye looks like a huge cup with uneven slopes. On one hand, this place conforms to its name ‘The Black Fauces’, and on the other hand, it has amazingly beautiful fantastic landscape compositions of nature.
The researchers of paranormal phenomena state that the Karagiye Depression is one of the most famous abnormal zones of the world. According to them, from time to time one can become the eyewitness of unidentified flying objects emerging here. Nobody can explain yet what kind of interest UFO may have towards the Karagiye Depression, but accounts of numerous eyewitnesses confirm that mysterious red balls plough the sky above this area of the world with the surprising consistency.
One of the first messages about UFO appearing above Karagiye became the story of an engineer Rozhkovskiy, who noticed not far from that place a red ball, which was flying low-level with the immense speed. It happened in the spring of 1979.
Almost every tourist who finds himself in Mangystau undoubtedly wants to visit Karagiye. This depression makes an impression of the lifeless desert only at the first glance. Actually, this is a habitat for many rare fauna species. Here, in this rocky desert, there grow both dwarf shrubs and thickets of Kazakh lilac; shifting sands are roaming around. Amid rocks and stones there hide caracals, lynxes of desert, and manuls, very rare and very discreet wild cats. Birds of prey hunt partridges, foxes, and hares. Monitor lizards, snakes, and scorpions running around this well-known depression make tourists hypnotically amazed because of the rush of adrenalin in their blood, but one would better stay away from this kind of inhabitants of Karagiye.
Seeing such incredible landscapes, any human is going to ask with surprise: How could Mother Nature create these kinds of relief? In scientists’ opinion, the building-up of the depression can be explained by the prolonged leaching of the saliniferous rock in course of the collapsing and karstic processes, which used to take place at the coast of the Caspian Sea. Groundwater was seeping into the cracks in limestones, dolomite rocks and mineral whites and gradually dissolved rocks and widened these cracks, forming deep and narrow chasms. Walls and floors of such hollows expanded and created huge funnels and caves. Through the process of expanding of caves their ceilings and walls were collapsing under the heavy weight of overlying rock layers. This process repeated ceaselessly and was directed into the depths of the earth. As a result, immense cavities were formed, and they were filled with the crushed rock; there emerged blind valleys, niches and caverns, ravines, vesicles, passageways and natural wells. About the process of the relief formation still going on nowadays precipices and terraces speak; they are dissected by the broad and deep gorges, cloughs, and gulches.
Due to the very dry climate of Mangystau, not more than 200 mm of annual precipitation falls out here. Alongside with this, scientists drew the paradoxical conclusion that these almost waterless places are the natural generator of rain clouds. In summer, ascending air currents go upwards from the depression and form huge clouds. It is interesting that this process was registered by the equipment aboard the artificial satellites.
Via this area the Great Silk Road used to have its route in ancient times, and there are more than 600 ancient necropolises along the way.
But, despite the scientific research and expeditions of scientists from Kazakhstan and other countries, one of the unique places of the Earth, the Karagiye depression, still keeps many unrevealed secrets.