#Home / Back / Next

 

Seas in China

East China Sea

East China Sea, arm of the Pacific Ocean, c.480,000 sq mi (1,243,200 sq km), bounded on the E by the Kyushu and Ryukyu islands, on the S by Taiwan, and on the W by China. It is connected with the South China Sea by the Taiwan Strait and with the Sea of Japan by the Korea Strait; it opens in the N to the Yellow Sea. The Chang River empties into the sea, whose main ports are Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, and Fuzhou, China; and Chilung, Taiwan.

South China Sea Go top....

The South China Sea with an area of about 3,500,000 km2 is a part of the Pacific Ocean, which encompasses from Singapore and the Strait of Malacca in the southwest, to the Taiwan Strait in the northeast. The Pearl, Red, Mekong, and Chao Phraya are the major rivers flowing into the South China Sea. Besides, it has a large amount of biological diversity, as well as abundant oil and natural gas resources

South China Sea, western arm of the Pacific Ocean, c.1,000,000 sq mi (2,590,000 sq km), between the SE Asian mainland and Taiwan, the Philippines, and Borneo. It is connected with the East China Sea by the Taiwan Strait. The Gulf of Tonkin and the Gulf of Thailand are its chief embayments. The southwestern part of the sea from the Gulf of Thailand to the Java Sea is an enormous submerged plain called the Sunda Platform; water is generally shallow (less than 200 ft/61 m) throughout this vast area. In contrast, the northeastern part of the sea is a deep basin, reaching depths of up to c.18,000 ft (5,490 m). The Pearl, Red, Mekong, and Chao Phraya are the largest rivers flowing into the South China Sea. Many islands dot the sea, which is a region subject to violent typhoons.

The South China Sea region is the world's second busiest international sea lane. More than half of the world's supertanker traffic passes through the region's waters. In addition, the South China Sea region contains oil and gas resources strategically located near large energy-consuming countries.
Information contained in this report is the best available as of September 2003 and is subject to change.


The South China Sea is rich in natural resources such as oil and natural gas. These resources have garnered attention throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Asia's economic growth rates have been among the highest in the world, and this economic growth will be accompanied by an increasing demand for energy. Between now and 2025, oil consumption in developing Asian countries is expected to rise by 3.0% annually on average, with more than one-third of this increase coming from China alone. If this growth rate is maintained, oil demand for these nations will increase from about 14.5 million barrels per day in 2000 to nearly 29.8 million barrels per day by 2025.

Much of this additional demand will need to be imported from the Middle East and Africa. Excluding cargoes bound for South Asia, most of this volume would need to pass through the strategic Strait of Malacca into the South China Sea (see Figure 1). Countries in the Asia-Pacific region depend on seaborne trade to fuel their economic growth, and this has led to the sea's transformation into one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. Over half of the world's merchant fleet (by tonnage) sails through the South China Sea every year. The economic potential and geopolitical importance of the South China Sea region has resulted in jockeying between the surrounding nations to claim this sea and its resources for themselves

The South China Sea encompasses a portion of the Pacific Ocean stretching roughly from Singapore and the Strait of Malacca in the southwest, to the Strait of Taiwan (between Taiwan and China) in the northeast (see the footnote for a more precise definition). The area includes more than 200 small islands, rocks, and reefs, with the majority located in the Paracel and Spratly Island chains. Many of these islands are partially submerged islets, rocks, and reefs that are little more than shipping hazards not suitable for habitation; the total land area of the Spratly Islands is less than 3 square miles. The islands are important, however, for strategic and political reasons, because ownership claims to them are used to bolster claims to the surrounding sea and its resources.

Yellow Sea Go top....

The Yellow Sea, also called the West Sea in North and South Korea ( meaning yellow sea), is the northern part of the East China Sea, which in turn is a part of the Pacific Ocean. It is located between Mainland China and the Korean peninsula. Its name comes from the sand particles that color its water, originating from the yellow river, Huang He.


In geography, a desert is a landscape form or region that receives little precipitation, less than 200 mm per year.. Deserts have a reputation for supporting very little life. Compared to wetter regions this may be true, although upon closer examination, deserts often harbor a wealth of life that usually remains hidden (especially during the daylight) to preserve moisture. Approximately one-third of Earth's land surface is desert.

Desert landscapes have certain common features. Desert soil is often composed mostly of sand and sand dunes may be present. Exposures of rocky terrain are typical, and reflect minimal soil development and sparseness of vegetation. Bottom lands may be salt-covered flats. Eolian (wind-driven) processes are major factors in shaping desert landscapes.

Deserts sometimes contain valuable mineral deposits that were formed in the arid environment or that were exposed by erosion. Because deserts are dry, they are ideal places for human artifacts and fossils to be preserved.

The Yellow Sea is the name given to the northern part of the East China Sea, which is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean. It is located between mainland China and the Korean Peninsula. Its name comes from the sand particles from Gobi Desert sand storms that turn the surface of the water golden yellow. In North Korea and South Korea, the sea is sometimes called the West Sea The innermost bay of the Yellow Sea is called the Bohai Sea (previously Pechihli Bay or Chihli Bay). Into it flow both the Yellow River (through Shandong province and its capital Jinan) and Hai He (through Beijing and Tianjin). Deposits of sand and silt from those rivers contribute to the sea color. The Yellow Sea is one of four seas named in English after common color terms the others being the Black Sea, the Red Sea and the White Sea.

The Yellow Sea, excluding the Bohai, extends by about 960 km (600 miles) from north to south and about 700 km (435 miles) from east to west; it has an area of about 380,000 km2 (146,700 sq mi) and the volume of about 17,000 km3. Its depth is only 44 meters (144 ft) on average, with a maximum of 152 meters (500 ft). The sea is a flooded section of continental shelf that formed after the last ice age (some 10,000 years ago) as sea levels rose 120 meters to their current levels. The sea bottom is slowly rising toward China and more rapidly at the Korean Peninsula. The depth gradually increases from north to south.The sea bottom and shores are dominated by sand and silt brought by the rivers through the Bohai Sea (Liao River, Yellow River, Hai He) and the Korea Bay (Yalu River). Those deposits, together with sand storms are responsible for the yellow water color and the sea name.

The area has cold, dry winters with strong northerly monsoon blowing from late November to March. Average January temperatures are C10 C in the north and 3 C in the south. Summers are wet and warm with frequent typhoons between June and October.Air temperatures range between 10 and 28 C (50C82 F ). The average annual precipitation increases from about 500 mm (20 inches ) in the north to 1,000 mm (40 inches) in the south. Fog is frequent along the coasts, especially in the upwelling cold-water areas.

The sea has a warm cyclone current. It is a part of the Kuroshio Current, which diverges near the western part of Japan and flows northward into the Yellow Sea at the speed of below 0.8 km/h (0.5 mile/h). Southward currents prevail near the sea coast, especially in the winter monsoon period.

Brown sediment spills out into the Yellow Sea from rivers in eastern China and Korea (top right corner). The nutrients in the sediment may be responsible for the bloom of phytoplankton seen as blue-green swirls.

The water temperature is close to freezing in the northern part in winter, so drift ice patches and continuous ice fields form and hinder navigation between November and March. The water temperature and salinity are homogeneous across the depth. The southern waters are warmer at 6C8 㧳. In spring and summer, the upper layer is warmed up by the sun and diluted by the fresh water from rivers, while the deeper water remains cold and saline. This deep water stagnates and slowly moves south. Commercial bottom-dwelling fishes are found around this mass of water, especially at its southern part. Summer temperatures range between 22 and 28 C (72 to 82 F). The average salinity is relatively low, at 30 parts per thousand () in the north to 33C34 in the south, dropping to 26 or lower near the river deltas. In the southwest monsoon season (June to August) the increased rainfall and runoff further reduce the salinity of the upper sea layer.Water transparency increases from about 10 meters in the north up to 45 meters in the south.

Tides are semidiurnal, i.e. rise twice a day. Their amplitude varies between about 0.9 and 3 meters (3 to 10 feet) at the coast of China. Tides are higher at the Korean Peninsula, typically ranging between 4 and 8 meters (13 to 26 feet) and reaching the maximum in spring. The tidal system rotates in a counterclockwise direction. The speed of the tidal current is generally less than 1.6 km/h (1 mile/h) in the middle of the sea, but may increase to more than 5.6 km/h (3.5 mile/h) near the coasts.The fastest tides reaching 20 km/h occur in the Myeongnyang Strait between the Jindo Island and the Korean Peninsula. The tide-related sea level variations result in a local phenomenon (a "Moses Miracle") when a land pass 2.9 km long and 10C40 meters wide opens for an hour between the Jindo and Modo islands. The event occurs approximately twice a year, at the beginning of May and in the middle of June. It had long been celebrated in a local festival called "Jindo Sea Parting Festival", but was largely unknown to the world until 1975, when the French ambassador Pierre Randi described the phenomenon in a French newspaper

Bo Hai Go top....

Bohai was a kingdom in Manchuria and northern Korea, from AD 698 to 926.

Geography
The gulf is formed by the Liaodong Peninsula (Historically: Liaotung) to the northeast and the Shandong Peninsula (Historically: Shantung) to the south. Bo Hai consists of three bays: Laizhou Bay (Liazhou Wan) to the south, Liaodong Bay (Liaodong Wan) to the north, and Bohai Bay (Bohai Wan) to the west. The rivers Huang He, Liao He, and Hai He empty into Bo Hai.

Bo Hai, Wade-Giles romanization Po Hai, also called Gulf of Chihli, shallow northwestern arm of the Yellow Sea, off the northern coast of China. It is enclosed by the Liaodong Peninsula (northeast) and the Shandong Peninsula (south). The Gulf of Liaodong to the northeast and Laizhou Bay to the south are generally considered part of the Bo Hai. Within these limits, the gulfs maximum dimensions are 300 miles (480 km) from northeast to southwest and 190 miles (306 km) from east to west. The strait leading to the gulf is about 65 miles (105 km) in width

Bohai or Po Hai arm of the Yellow Sea, indenting the coast of N China; bordered by Shandong, Hebei, and Liaoning provs. and Tianjin Municipality; the Liaodong Gulf is its northeast extension. The Huang He (Yellow River) empties into the Bohai. Dalian, Yingkou, and Tianjin are major ports. Petroleum deposits are located in the Bohai, which was formerly called the Gulf of Chihli (Zhili).

Bo Hai / Bohai was a kingdom in northeast Asia from AD 698 to 926, occupying parts of Manchuria, northern Korea, and Russian Far East. Bohai was founded by Da Zuorong of the Sumo Mohe tribe and integrated several Mohe tribes and Goguryeo remnants. It was conquered by the Khitan in 926.
In the confusion of the Khitan rebellion against Tang in 696, Sumo Mohe tribe, led by Qiqi Zhongxiang and Qisi Piyu, escaped eastward to their homeland. The two leaders died but Da Zuorong, the son of Qiqi Zhongxiang,
established the State of Zhen Da Zuorong established his capital at Dongmu Mountain in the south of today's Jilin province. Since it gained power under protection of the northern nomadic empire of Gokturk, Tang gave Da Zuorong the title of "Prefecture King of Bohai" in 713. Bohai had been a Chinese prefecture, but since then referred to the kingdom. The title was upgraded to "State King of Bohai" in 762.

The second king Da Wuyi (Wuwang), who felt encircled by Tang, Silla and Black Water Mohe along the Amur River, attacked Tang and his navy briefly occupied a port on the Shandong Peninsula in 732. Later, a compromise was forged between Tang and Bohai, which resumed tributary mission to Tang. He also sent a mission to Japan in 728 to threaten Silla from the rear. Bohai kept diplomatic and commercial contacts with Japan until the end of the kingdom. Because of its proximity to many powerful states, Bohai became a buffer zone for the region.
The third king Da Jinmao (Wen Wang) expanded its territory into the Amur valley in the north and the Liaodong Peninsula in the west. He also established the permanent capital near Lake Jingpo in the south of today's Heilongjiang province around 755.

After destroying Bohai in 926, the Khitan put the state of Dongdan, followed by the annexation by Liao in 936. Bohai aristocrats were moved to Liaoyang but small fragments of the state remained semi-independent. Some Bohai people fled southward to Goryeo, including a son of the last king. Some descendants of the royal family live in Korea, changing their family name to Tae (̫). The Jurchen Jin Dynasty favored the Bohai people as well as the Khitans. The fourth, fifth and seventh emperors were mothered by Bohai concubines. The 13th century census of Northern China by the Mongols distinguished Bohai from other ethnic groups such as Goryeo (Korean), Khitan and Jurchen. This suggests that the Bohai people still preserved their identity.


The Bohai Sea is a semienclosed coastal ocean that includes multiple islands and coastal inlets. The mean depth of the Bohai is about 20 m, with the deepest region of about 70 m located near the northern coast of the Bohai Strait. In the Bohai Sea, the motion is dominated by semidiurnal (M2 and S2) and diurnal (K1 and O1) tides, which account for about 60% of the current variation and kinetic energy there. Since the tidally rectified residual flow is only substantial near the coast and islands in the Bohai Sea, geometric fitting is essential to providing a more accurate simulation of the tidal waves and residual flow.

The Bohai Sea is connected to the Yellow Sea (on the south) through the Bohai Strait. Several islands located in the Strait complicate the water exchange between these two seas. Failing to resolve these islands leads to an underestimation of water transport through the strait. It also results in an unrealistic distribution of the tidal motion in the Bohai Sea due to alterations in the propagation paths of tidal waves. In addition, in the Bohai Sea, the tidally rectified residual flow is usually one order of magnitude smaller than the buoyancy- and wind-induced flows, except near the coast and around islands. In order to obtain a more accurate simulation of temperature and salinity, the model must be able to resolve the complex topography near the coast and around islands.

Bo Hai borders Shandong province, Liaoning province, Hebei province, and Tianjin municipality. Port cities on Bo Hai coast include:

Hebei: Qinhuangdao
Liaoning: Dalian, Jinzhou, Yingkou
Shandong: Longkou, Weihai, Yantai
Tianjin: Tanggu




Deserts in China

 

In geography, a desert is a landscape form or region that receives little precipitation, less than 200 mm per year.. Deserts have a reputation for supporting very little life. Compared to wetter regions this may be true, although upon closer examination, deserts often harbor a wealth of life that usually remains hidden (especially during the daylight) to preserve moisture. Approximately one-third of Earth's land surface is desert.

Desert landscapes have certain common features. Desert soil is often composed mostly of sand and sand dunes may be present. Exposures of rocky terrain are typical, and reflect minimal soil development and sparseness of vegetation. Bottom lands may be salt-covered flats. Eolian (wind-driven) processes are major factors in shaping desert landscapes.

Deserts sometimes contain valuable mineral deposits that were formed in the arid environment or that were exposed by erosion. Because deserts are dry, they are ideal places for human artifacts and fossils to be preserved.

The Taklamakan Go top....

The Taklamakan (also Taklimakan) is a desert of Central Asia, in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Some references state that Taklamakan means "if you go in, you won't come out" while others state that it means "Desert of Death" or "Place of no return." "Makan" is a Turkic word meaning "place".

It covers an area of 270,000 km2 of the Tarim Basin, extending between roughly 78 to 88 E longitude and 37 to 40 N latitude. It is crossed at its northern and at its southern edge by two branches of the Silk Road. The key oasis towns are Kashgar, Yarkand, and Khotan (Hetian) in the South-West, Kuqa and Turfan in the North, and Loulan and Dunhuang inthe East.
The White Jade River flows into the Taklamakan.

The archeological treasures found in its sand buried ruins point to Tocharian, early Hellenistic, and Indian/Buddhistic influences. Its treasures and dangers have been vividly described by Aurel Stein, Sven Hedin, Albert von Le Coq, and Paul Pelliot.

Numerous mummies, some 4000 years old, have been found in the region. They show the wide range of peoples who have passed through. Many of the mummies appear European and may have been members of the Tocharian people, who spoke an Indo-European language.

Later, the Taklamakan was inhabited by Turkic peoples. Starting with the Tang Dynasty, the Chinese periodically extended their control to the oasis cities of the Taklamakan in order to control the important silk route trade across Central Asia. Periods of Chinese rule were interspersed with rule by Turkic, Mongol, and Tibetan peoples. The present population consists largely of Turkic Uyghur and Kazakh people in the countryside, while the population of the larger cities is predominantly Han Chinese.

Takla Makan Desert is China's largest desert, situated in the middle of the largest Basin, Tarim in Xinjiang Province. This is reputed to be the world's second largest shifting-sand desert covering an area of over 33, 700 square kilometers (over 13,000 square miles).

In Uigur language, Takla Makan means 'you can get into it but can never get out' and the desert has another name 'the Sea of Death'. The desert is regarded as being very powerful among the people; no wonder the name connotes fear. But there was an interesting legend about the origin of the desert. It was said that there was a Supernatural Being, who saw the hardship being faced by the people in this area and thought that he could help them by using the two magic objects in his possession namely the golden axe and the golden key. He gave his golden axe to the Kazakh, so they split the mountain Altai and diverted water from the mountains to the fields. The Supernatural Being planned to give the golden key to the Uigur so that they could open the door of the treasure-house of the Tarim Basin, but unfortunately his youngest daughter lost the key. This angered him so much that he held her a captive in the Tarim Basin and thus the Takla Makan Desert was formed.

Continuous sand dunes in this large Takla Makan Desert are usually over 100 meters high (over 109 yards) and some are even higher than 300 meters (about 328 yards). Because of the wind, the sand dunes are always moving forward and statistics suggests that each year they move about 150 meters (about 164 yards), which seriously threatens the existence of oasis and the survival of the local populace. For the past 50 years, the Chinese Government has made great effort to plant trees to reduce the encroachments of the sandstorms. With the help of experts, local people planted diversiform-leaved poplars, rose-willows, pomegranate trees, mulberries and built windbreak belts as corrective measures and in some places, people even cultivate corn. There is an improvement in the living condition of the local people, thanks to the increase in vegetation. Now there are over 80 species of birds' resident in the interior desert and the precipitation is increasing as well.

The Takla Makan Desert is also rich in natural resources, buried under it vast expanse are resources such as groundwater, oil and oil gas. During the oilfields' opening up, people encountered the problems of transportation. Thus the idea of building a highway came to people's mind. In the year 1995, a desert-road of 522 kilometers (more than 324 miles) was completed and opened to traffic. Construction work has commenced on the second desert-road in June, 2005 and it is to be completed by the end of 2007.

We strongly believe as time goes on, people will be more capable of conquering deserts and at the same time, make full uses of its rich natural resources for the benefit of humanity.

The Badain Jaran Desert Go top....

The Badain Jaran Desert can be found in western Inner Mongolia. The desert covers 49,000 sq. kilometers (30, 000 sq. miles) spanning the provinces of Gansu and Ningxia in China as well as Inner Mongolia.

This desert is home to the tallest stationary dunes on Earth. Some of the dunes reach a height of 500 meters (1,600 ft.). The dunes are kept in place in the arid, windy region by an underground water source. Analyses of the ground water indicates that it snowmelt that flows through fractured rock from mountains hundreds of kilometers away.

The desert also features over 100 spring-fed lakes that lie between the dunes. These lakes give the desert its name which is Mongolian for "mysterious lakes"

"One of Top Five Most Beautiful Deserts in China"
Ranked by China National Geoegraphy MagazinBadain Jaran Desert Interior in You Banner, Alasha Prefecture of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region: Curves drawn by God

The Badain Jaran Desert, lying in the west of the Alasha Plateau of the Alasha Prefecture, covers 44,000 square kilometers, ranking third in China and the fourth in world. Some 83 per cent of the desert is composed of shifting dunes.

The steep dunes rise up high from the flat ground, one after the other, covering the whole desert. Paths zigzag up the dunes and down to the next; and as for road signs, there are only the dried white droppings of camels to guide you, or simply gut instinct. When the camel's pads step onto the sand drifts, the sand slides down, and the camels too, often slip back a step for every two they climb. Unlike in the flat Gobi, the camels cannot run at will; it takes much time and all their breath to creep over every single dune.

Wuzhumu is the highest point in the Badain Jaran Desert, at an elevation of 1,700 meters. The dune rises 528 meters high from the ground, and is the highest sand hill in China. It is also the world's largest area of booming sand. As its slips and slides, the sand emits thunderous booming noises.

Among the high dunes of the Badain Jaran are over 140 inland lakes, with an area of 666 hectares, a unique desert sight. It is locally known as Haizi. Most of them are saline. There are always swampy meadows and salt meadows around the lakes, which are important for grazing. The lake stretched out below our feet, deep and clear. Surrounded by sand, it was like a mother's charming smile, or a teardrop on the sky. There are over 140 such lakes in the desert, Some are freshwater lakes and others are extremely saline. It is an incredible thing when a lake next to a salty one turns out to be fresh.

The area around the Badain Jaran Monastery, deep in the interior, is the most beautiful part. The world here is simplified into three elements: dunes, camels and vastness.
Walking in the Badain Jaran Desert is like walking through thousands years of history; it feels like a pilgrimage to the high Alasha Desert Pyramid.

The Badain Jaran desert is the fourth largest desert in the world roughly 150 kilometers north of the Hexi corridor and covering an area of over 49,000 square kilometers. It is home to the largest dunes on earth, the highest of which tower over 450 meters tall and stretch over 5 km in length. In addition to its megadunes, the Badain Jaran also boasts roughly 140 spring fed-lakes that reside in the interspaces of its giant megadunes, creating one of the most captivating desert landscapes in the world. It is not a Waterless place, from these lakes that the Badain Jaran has derived its name, which means "mysterious lake" in the local Mongolian dialect.

It is the largest booming sand area in the world. By sliding down the sand dune, one can hear the sand booming like the tolling of a huge bell or the beating of a big drum. In the evening, the strong winds make the sand slide down the dune slope, producing booming by itself.

The Badain Jaran is not a sea of death. It is a live desert. In the heart of the desert, Buddhist monastery, which once housed 80 monks, is built along the lake in 1755. Mongolian herdsmen with camels are living amid the big dunes that intersperse with spring-fed lakes. All are rare examples of a complete self-purification and harmony between lakes and sand dunes, the life of Mongolian herdsmen and their camels

Badain Jaran Desert is home to the tallest stationary dunes on Earth. Reaching over 1,600 feet tall, they are roughly the same size as the world's tallest buildings. This area also shares a mysterious property with some three dozen other deserts around the world. Known as singing sands, whistling sands, or booming dunes, the dunes of the Badain Jaran Desert make a surprising amount of noise.</p><p>Singing sands are generated when the desert wind pulls the top layer of sand off layer below. It is believed that the noise is generated by electrostatic charge this action creates. On a small scale, such as a beach, this phenomenon creates a high-pitched sound, but on a much larger scale, it can emit a low-pitched rumble or booming sound, and at up to 105 decibels, it can be quite loud. </p><p>Despite singing sands and booming dunes being a feature shared by some 35 deserts and beaches around the world, the mechanism that makes the sound is still not fully understood.</p><p> A booming sand dune manifests itself by initiating an avalanche from the leeward face of a large dune. The resulting low-frequency booming noise or music is loud and resembles a low-flying propeller airplane. The sound is surprisingly monotone with one dominant audible frequency. The sound is sustained and may continue for up to a minute after initiation, even after all visible motion has ceased. Moving a hand through the dry sand of a booming dune shears the upper layer and generates another acoustic phenomenon, the burping emission - pulse-like, short bursts of sound.</p><p>Booming dunes are silent in the wintertime when moisture from precipitation is retained in the dune. The burping property depends on sand grain characteristics and can be generated all year around. In the summer time when the larger dunes produce their music, the smaller dunes in the dune field remain silent. This indicates that structural properties of the dune are critical for the generation of the singing sand. Also, booming can only be generated at slopes at the angle of repose (30 degrees) on the leeward face of dune, the same sand on the shallower windward side cannot generate the music.

 

The Ordos Desert Go top....

The Ordos Desert (pinyin: E Er Du Si (Ordos) Sha Mo (Desert)) is a desert and steppe region lying on a plateau in the south of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. The soil of the Ordos is a mixture of clay and sand and, as a result, is poorly suited for agriculture. It extends over an area of approximately 90,650 km2.

The Ordos Desert is almost completely encircled by the great northern bend of the Huang He (Yellow River) in the west, north, and east. Mountain ranges separate the Ordos from the Gobi Desert north and east of the Huang He. The mountain chains separating the Ordos from the central Gobi in the north of the great bent of the Huang He are: the Kara-naryn-ula, the Sheitenula, and the In Shan (In Mountains), which link on to the south end of the Great Khingan Mountains. In the south and east, the Great Wall of China separates the Ordos from fertile loess lands. The Orodos covers the southern section of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the Ningxia Autonomous Region, and Provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu.

The Ordos Desert (zh-cp|c=˹ɳĮ|p='rdus Shm) is a desert and steppe region lying on a plateau in the south of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China (centered ca. coord|39|N|109|E|). The soil of the Ordos is a mixture of clay and sand and, as a result, is poorly suited for agriculture. It extends over an area of approximately 90,650 km2. It comprises two large deserts: the 7th largest desert in China, Kubuqi (Kubuqi Shamo, ⲼɳĮ) in the north, and the 8th largest desert in China, Maowusu (Maowusu Shamo, ëɳĮ), in the south.

Location
The Ordos Desert is almost completely encircled by the immense southern bend of the Yellow River in the west, north, and east. Mountain ranges separate the Ordos from the Gobi Desert north and east of the Huang He. The mountain chains separating the Ordos from the central Gobi in the north of the great bend of the Huang He are: the Kara-naryn-ula, the Sheitenula, and the Yin Mountains, which link on to the south end of the Greater Khingan Mountains . In the south and east, the Great Wall of China separates the Ordos from fertile loess lands. The Ordos covers the southern section of the Inner Mongolia, an Autonomous Region of China, the Ningxia, an Autonomous Entity of China, and the Chinese Provinces of Shaanxi and Gansu.

Relief
The Ordos Desert forms an intermediate step in the descent from the Himalayas to the lowlands of eastern China. Towards the south it rises to an altitude of over 1,500 m, and in the west, along the right bank of the Yellow River, the Arbus or Arbiso Mountains, which overlie the steppe by some 900 m, serve to link the Helan Shan Mountains with the Yin Mountains. The northern part of the great bend of the Yellow River is filled with the sands of Kuzupchi River, a succession of dunes, 12&ndash;15 m high. In some places these sand-dunes approach close to the Yellow River; in others they are parted from it by a belt of sand, intermingled with clay, which terminates in a steep escarpment, 15 m and in some localities 30 m above the river.
Eventually the sand dunes cross over to the left bank of the Yellow River where they are threaded by the beds of dry watercourses. The Yin Mountains, which stretch from 108 to 112 E in the north of the great bend of the Yellow River, have a wild alpine character and are distinguished from other mountains in the southeast of Mongolia by an abundance of both water and vegetation. In one of their constituent ranges, the bold Munni-ula, 113 km long and nearly 32 km wide, they attain elevations of 2,200 to 2,600 m, and have steep flanks, slashed with rugged gorges and narrow glens.

Climate
The desert receives less than 250 mm of rain annually, and most of this is in the form of thunderstorms. The region has many salt lakes and intermittent streams. In January, average temperatures range from ?13 to ?10 C and cold winds blow into the region from the north and west.

Fauna and flora
The vegetation of the Ordos region is made up of montane grasslands and shrublands. Among the sand dunes in the north, shrubs including "Hedysarum scoparium" and "Calligonum arborescens" grow in scattered patches. Native grasses and herbs include "Bromus inermis, Agropyron mongolicum, A. cristatum, Festuca arundinacea, Elymus dahuricus, Melilotus albus, M. officinalis, Lotus corniculatus, Pugionium cornutum, Astragalus adsurgens," and "Filifolium sibiricum". [Kang Mu-Yi "et al" (2003). "Ecological Regionalization of Suitable Trees, Shrubs and Herbages for Vegetation Restoration in the Farming-Pastoral Zone of Northern China". "Acta Botanica Sinica" 2003, 45 (10): 1157-1165.] The belt of sand and clay which separates the sand dunes from the Huang He in places is studded with little mounds (up to 1.2 m high), mostly overgrown with wormwood "(Artemisia campestris)" and the Siberian pea-tree "(Caragana spp.)"; and here too grows one of the most characteristic plants of Ordos, the liquorice root "(Glycyrrhiza uralensis)". On the left bank of the Huang He, level spaces amongst the dry river beds are studded with little mounds (9 cm to 1.8 m high), on which grow stunted "Nitraria schoberi" and "Zygophyllum." Towards the south, sparse scrub vegetation is found. Forest thickets thrive along the river margins.
In the Yin Mountains, forests begin at altitudes of 1,600 m and wild flowers grow in great profusion and variety in summer, though with a striking lack of color. In this same border range there is also a much greater abundance and variety of animal life, especially among the birds.
Rare bird species also breed in the saline lakes of the Ordos, among them Relict Gulls ("Larus relictus"). For the latter species the Ordos is home to about one quarter of the world's population.Fact|date=June 2008
The present status of large mammals in the region is largely unclear. In the past, it was inhabited by wild two-humped Bactrian camels, snow leopards, Przewalski's gazelles, and Przewalski's horses. It has been observedWho|date=June 2008 that Asiatic wild asses have been leaving the region for less populated areas on the Mongolian border.

History
Ancient names of the Ordos region are He-tau and - later - He-nan ("the country south of the river"). By one account, it was the legendary land of origin of the Turks. It was occupied by horse nomads for many centuries, and these were very often at war with China. In the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, it was occupied by the Xiongnu, but was almost depopulated during and after the Dungan revolt of 1869.
This region was desert in the Late Glacial Maximum. During the Holocene Climatic Optimum the monsoonal rains that reached the Loess Plateau in the modern era pushed the desert back to the Huanghe. In the modern period, the lack of rainfall has resulted in a return to desert conditions. However, the most disastrous damage to the environment was caused by the political movements launched by Mao Zedong, namely, Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, during which the thin line of fragile vegetation separating the 7th largest desert in China, Kubuqi (Kubuqi Shamo, ⲼɳĮ) in the north, and the 8th largest desert in China Maowusu (Maowusu Shamo, ëɳĮ) in the south was destroyed. Subsequent pressure of population and sheep/goats/cattle increase further damaged the already weakened local environment to the point of no return, and as a result, the two deserts finally linked up in the 1990's, forming the larger current day Ordos Desert


Economy
The alkaline soil allows for some nomadic Mongol herders to raise sheep and goats. Heavy grazing by goats has done damage to the grasslands in the region and led to desertification. The oases in the region support small scale farming. The area contains large soda deposits which are heavily mined


## China Basics

# History of China
##Provinces and Cities
##Art and Craft
##Population
##Mountains
##Rivers
##Lakes
##Seas & Deserts
##Glacials
##Climamte of China
##Vegetation
##Pedogeography
##Grassland Islands
##Water Resources

 


 Related Books

Marine Atlas Of Bohai Sea ,Yellow Sea and            East China Sea

Geology of the East China Sea
          More...

 

 


China Scientific Book Services Co. Ltd., CSBS Bookstore
Address:  A-1120, Kingsound (Jiahao) International Center, No.116, Zi Zhu Yuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100097, China
TeL: +86-10-58930115, Fax: +86-10-58900116  Email: [email protected]  All Right Reserved