Taklamakan Desert and Nearby Lakes, China40.3N 86.6E
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.