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Taklimakan Desert
Xinjiang Uygur Zizhigu , China
Earth's Natural Wonders in Asia
Area of desert: aprox. 96,000 sq. mi. (250,000 sq. km)
Elevation of Desert: 505 ft. (154m) below sea level
Height of dunes: 1,00 ft. (300m)
Coordinates: 38° 53' 28 N, 82° 10' 40 E
The Takla Makan is flanked by high mountain ranges: the Tien Shan to the north, the Kunlun Mountains to the south, and the Pamirs to the west. There is a gradual transition to the Lop Nur basin in the east; in the south and west, between the sandy desert and the mountains, lies a band of sloping desert lowland composed of pebble-detritus deposits.[3]
Taklamakan desert in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. [1]

The Taklamakan Desert also known as Taklimakan, is a desert in Central Asia, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. It is bounded by Kunlun Mountains to the south, and Pamir Mountains and Tian Shan (ancient Mount Imeon) to the west and north. The name is a Uyghur borrowing of Arabic tark "to leave alone/out/behind, relinquish, abandon" + makan "place." Popular accounts claim that Takla Makan means "go in and you'll never come out."

Taklamakan is one of the largest sandy deserts in the world, ranking 15th in size in a ranking of the world's largest non-polar deserts. It covers an area of 270,000 km2 (100,000 sq mi) of the Tarim Basin, 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) long and 400 kilometres (250 mi) wide. It is crossed at its northern and at its southern edge by two branches of the Silk Road as travellers sought to avoid the arid wasteland. In recent years, the People's Republic of China has constructed a cross-desert highway that links the cities of Hotan (on the southern edge) and Luntai (on the northern edge).

Taklamakan is the paradigm of a cold desert. Given its relative proximity with the cold to frigid air masses in Siberia, extreme lows are recorded in wintertime, sometimes well below -20 °C (-4 °F). During the 2008 Chinese winter storms episode, the Taklamakan was reported to be covered for the first time in its entirety with a thin layer of snow reaching 4 centimetres (1.6 in), with a temperature of -26.1 °C (-15 °F) in some observatories.

Its extreme inland position, virtually in the very heartland of Asia and thousands of kilometres from any open body of water, accounts for the cold character of its nights even during summertime.[2]

Most of the Tarim Basin, including the Taklimakan Desert, consists of shifting sand with virtually no vegetation. When sand movement slows, dunes may be colonized by such plant species as Alhagi sparsifolia, Scorzonera divaricata, and Karelina caspica. Peripheral areas consist of more stable gravel substrates where vegetation cover may approach 5 percent. Dominant plant species here include the shrubs Ephedra przewalskii and Nitraria sphaerocarpus, although today the vegetation of the Tarim Basin is extremely depauperate. The northern margin of the Taklimakan Desert, and areas at the periphery of the Tarim River riparian zone, support steppe vegetation dominated by saxaul (Haloxylon spp.) together with other salt-tolerant shrubs. [4]

 

The Taklimakan desert is the second largest shifting sand desert in the world, covering an impressive 337,600 Square Kilometers.

 

UighurTour
February 02, 2009

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References
 
1. Wikimedia Commons-Taklamakan desert-Creative Commons Attribution License-retrieved 8/10/2009
2. Wikipedia-Taklamakan desert-Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License-retrieved 8/10/2009 
3. "Takla Makan Desert." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2009 Deluxe Edition. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2009.
4. [Published in the Encyclopedia of Earth April 24, 2007; Retrieved August 10, 2009]. <http://www.eoearth.org/article/Taklimakan_desert>
 
 
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