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Salt Fields on Dry Lake Bed of Lop Nur, China

40.0N 90.0E

April 12th, 2010 Category: Lakes, Salt Flats

China - March 5th, 2010

China - March 5th, 2010

The curved indentation towards the center of this image was once home to Lake Lop Nur, between between the Taklamakan (left) and Kuruktag (right) deserts in China.  In the 1950’s, the lake had a surface area of about 2,000 square km (770 square miles); however, all that has remained since the 1970’s is the dry, salt-encrusted lake bed.

Lop Nur is also known as “The Wandering Lake”, since changes in the balance between rainfall and evaporation  used to cause it to change considerably in both size and position. The green, rectangular area in the lake bed is a salt field and salt refining facility, constructed in 2002.

Potassium Chloride Factory by Lop Lake Basin, China

40.5N 90.5E

January 9th, 2012 Category: Deserts, Lakes

China - January 6th, 2012

Visible just above the center of this image is Lop Lake or Lop Nur, a group of small, now seasonal salt lake sand marshes between the Taklamakan and Kuruktag deserts in the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, southeastern portion of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the People’s Republic of China.

The lake system into which the Tarim River and Shule River empty is the last remnant of the historical post-glacial Tarim Lake, which once covered more than 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi) in the Tarim Basin. Lop Nur is hydrologically endorheic—it is landbound and there is no outlet. The lake system has largely dried up from its 1928 measured area of 3,100 km2 (1,200 sq mi) and the desert has spread by windblown sandy loess. This has shifted the lake system 30 to 40 kilometres (19 to 25 mi) westwards during the past 40 years. The rectangular, teal area just above the dry basin is a potassium chloride factory.

 

Taklamakan Desert and Nearby Lakes, China

40.3N 86.6E

July 28th, 2010 Category: Lakes

China - July 17th, 2010

China - July 17th, 2010

The Taklamakan Desert fills the greater part of the Tarim Basin in west-central China. It is one of the world’s largest deserts, with a width of about 600 mi (960 km), and a surface area of 123,550 sq mi (320,000 sq km).

Although most of the image is dominated by the Taklamakan’s sand dunes, of note on the eastern end of the desert is an area of rectangular greenish blue salt fields (center of right edge). These are situated by the dry basin of the former Lake Lop Nur (best observed upon opening the full image).

Several lakes are visible nearby, including those in Tibet’s Lakes Region to the southeast and Lake Bosten to the north (above center). This dark blue freshwater lake has a surface area of about 1,000 square kilometers and provides irrigation for nearby agriculture.

Lakes Near the Taklamakan Desert, China

42.0N 87.0E

October 19th, 2009 Category: Lakes

China - September 24th, 2009

China - September 24th, 2009

Several lakes are visible in this image of western China, despite being near to the arid Taklamakan Desert. Of note on the eastern end of the desert is the dry basin of the former Lake Lop Nur, now containing an area of salt fields that appear as a light yet bright blue rectangle.

Visible just north of the Taklamakan desert is Lake Bosten, a dark blue freshwater lake located 57 km northeast of Korla, Xinjiang in the Bayin’gholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture. With an area of about 1,000 square kilometers, it is the largest lake in Xinjiang.

Further north, appearing greenish in color, is Lake Ulungur, in Fuhai, Xinjiang. Covering an area of 1,035 square kilometers, the lake is one of China’s ten largest freshwater lakes. Lake Ulungur is divided into two sections: Buluntuo Lake and the smaller Jili Lake.

Finally, the lower end of Lake Zaysan, a freshwater lake in eastern Kazakhstan, can be seen in the upper left corner. The ca. 1,810 km² (700 mi²) lake is located in a hollow between the Altai and Tarbagatai Mountains.

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