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Badain Jaran Desert, Inner Mongolia – August 24th, 2009

40.0N 102.2E

August 24th, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

Mongolia - July 27th, 2009

Mongolia - July 27th, 2009

Qinghai Lake

Qinghai Lake

Badain Jaran Desert

Badain Jaran Desert

The Badain Jaran Desert can be found in western Inner Mongolia. The desert covers 49,000 sq. kilometers (30, 000 sq. miles) spanning the provinces of Gansu and Ningxia in China as well as Inner Mongolia.

This desert is home to the tallest stationary dunes on Earth. Some of the dunes reach a height of 500 meters (1,600 ft.). The dunes are kept in place in the arid, windy region by an underground water source. Analyses of the ground water indicates that it is snowmelt that flows through fractured rock from mountains hundreds of kilometers away.

The desert also features over 100 spring-fed lakes that lie between the dunes, some of which are fresh while others are extremely saline. These lakes give the desert its name which is Mongolian for “mysterious lakes”.

One close-up image focuses on some of those lakes, which appear as dark dots among the dunes. The other focuses on Qinghai Lake, historically known as Koko Nor (from the Mongolian name), a saline lake situated in the province of Qinghai, China.

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