Khotan River Crossing Taklamakan Desert, China38.7N 80.5E
The Khotan River can be seen crossing the western half of the Taklamakan Desert in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. It is formed by the union of the White Jade (Yurungkash) and Black Jade (Karakash) Rivers, which flow north from the Kunlun Mountains into the Taklamakan Desert in the northern part of the country.
The two rivers unite towards the middle of the desert, some 145 kilometres (90 mi) north of the town of Khotan. The river then flows 290 kilometres (180 mi) northwards across the desert and empties itself into the Tarim River. Because the river is fed by melting snow from the mountains, it only carries water during the summer and is dry the rest of the year. The Khotan river bed provides the only transportation system across the Tarim Basin.