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Taklamakan Desert, China

by WCC on March 6, 2012

in Asia

The Taklamakan Desert according to the Rub al Khali, the second largest sand desert on earth. It extends into Central Asia in northwest China‘s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang through the western part of the Tarim Basin to 218th Street to the East of this road lies the desert of Lop Nor in the deepest part of the Tarim Basin. In the past, were Taklamakan Desert and the Lop Nor desert through the lower reaches of the river Tarim , conch Darya (= He Konqi ) and Chärchan Darya (= Qarqan He ) separately, but the south of Tikanlik have dried up for decades.

taklamakan desert 550x366 Taklamakan Desert, China

taklamakan desert


The meaning of the name Taklamakan was long unclear. The name comes from the Uygur and has been translated as follows: Embark in, and you will never come out again , place of no return , or desert of death . According to Qian Boquan , historian of the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences in Urumqi is the wrong translation if you’re caught once, then there is no escape from a group of journalists come, have visited the Xinjiang in the early 1980s. Qian Boquan came after extensive studies the Uygur dialect to the conclusion that Taklamakan actually land of poplars is, since Takli a derivative of the Turkish word Tohlak or Tohrak is what poplar mean. The syllable ma , on the Takli follows stand for large and kan , a variation of kand from ancient Persian , means land , town or village . According to historical documents poplars were in the years 420-589 in the Tarim Basin are widespread. Another reading is “Gardens of the Desert”.


The Taklamakan desert filled about two-thirds of Xinjiang. Its area of 300,000 square kilometers, mostly over 100 m high dunes covered some information even amount to 300 meters. The strong winds that dunes can move very quickly, they also lead to the formation of Yardangs . The dunes formed by dust and sand deposits of the last ice age , in the Taklamakan almost entirely of a lake of glacial meltwater ( Glazialsee was) covered the surrounding mountains. Studies of heavy metal spectra , depending on the catchment area of the rivers showed that the sands a fluvial origin (of former river courses) have.

In just a few meters down through the ages have made ​​great aquifers, which are probably also fed from the melting water from the surrounding mountains. Also located in this desert some salt lakes . The Taklamakan is a part of Xinjiang earthquakes.


With less than 30 mm of rainfall a year, the desert is a hyperarid . This extremely dry air created by the combination of two factors. First, the Taklamakan Desert, a relief, a desert that lies in the rain shadow of mountains. Then there is the continental situation . From the sea air masses brought up their moisture have lost before they reach Central Asia. These clouds may increase poverty, the high temperatures.

Due to the distance to a beach with balancing the heat temperatures fluctuate very much. Since it is a very inaccessible area, meteorological statements are uncertain and vary depending on the source. According to Bruno Baumann is a day to 62-degree heat, and can come at night to twelve degrees below zero. It is estimated that the temperatures during the day at 70 ° C throughout the year at 90 ° C. The temperature fluctuations may have no impact on the drought, but they are another life-threatening factor.

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