Salt and Freshwater Lakes in Tibet’s Lake Region – February 3rd, 2009
This sharp full resolution image of a part of Tibet’s lake region, which extends from near the source of the Indus River, to the sources of the Salween, the Mekong and the Yangtze Rivers. It is some 1100 km (700 mi) broad, and covers an area about equal to that of France.
The lake region is an arid and wind-swept desert. It receives limited amounts of rainfall as its lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas. Also, due to its great distance from the ocean it is extremely dry and possesses no river outlet.
The mountain ranges within this region are spread out, rounded, disconnected, separated by flat valleys relatively of little depth.
Due to the presence of discontinuous permafrost over the Chang Tang, the soil is boggy and covered with tussocks of grass, thus resembling the Siberian tundra.
The country is dotted over with large and small lakes, generally salt or alkaline, and intersected by streams, which can be seen clearly running amidst the mountains, upon opening the full image.
Salt and fresh-water lakes are intermingled, as can be observed from the mix of whitish grey salt lakes and greenish blue lakes. The largest saltwater lake visible is Siling Co, in the upper right.
The lakes are generally without outlet, or have only a small effluent. The deposits consist of soda, potash, borax and common salt.
The lake region is also noted for a vast number of hot springs. However, the cold in this part of Tibet is so intense that these springs are sometimes represented by columns of ice, the nearly boiling water having frozen in the act of ejection.