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Qaidam Basin

Located in the northern west part of Qinghai, Qaidam Basin is one of the three largest interior basins in China. It is surrounded by Kunlun Mountain, Altun Mountain, and Qilian Mountain, covering a triangular area of 257,768 square kilometers. Qaidam Basin is the highest basin in China, and is abundant in natural resources. It is not only a world of salt, but also contains petroleum, coal, and metals. As a result, people often call it a “treasure bowl.”


Qaidam Basin belongs to Plateau Continental Climate, so that it is dry and cold over the year. The annual temperature is below 5℃, and even in the summer, it can hit zero during the night. The temperature also varies dramatically. Annual temperature difference could reach 60℃, and even daily difference can be about 30℃. The wind is strong, so that the ground is heavily weathered.


On one of the Gobi in Qaidam Basin, there is a small hill that stretches two kilometers, which local people call it “Beike Liang.” Under a thin layer of saline-alkali soil, the main body of the hill is composed of shells with the thickness of 20 meters. This natural wonder is so far the largest finding about Paleontology in Chinese interior basin.


Another attraction in the Qaidam Basin is Yardangs. It is a wind-eroded sandbanks located in northwest Qaidam Basin. Covering an area of about 21,000 square kilometers, it is the largest Yardang landform clusters in China. Wind from west comes to Qaidam Basin and carves the sand over time. Thanks to the weathering of thousands of years, sand and salt become different shapes of statues. When seeing from far, it could look like anything you could imagine.

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