Lake Qinghai  

Lake Qinghai in Qinghai province

Lake Qinghai, the largest lake in China, is located in the northeast of the Qinghai-Tibet
Plateau, bordering between the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Haibei and the Tibetan Au-
tonomous Prefecture of Hainan, at 36~ 15' to 38~ 2ff N and 97~ 50' to 101~ 20' E. To the lake's
west are the Naheduo Mountain and the drainage area of the Hala River; to its northwest are
Mount Shaguolingnamujimu and the drainage area of the Shule River; to its north the Daban
Mountain separates it from the drainage area of the Datong River: to its southeast stand the
Yeniu Mountain, the Waligong Mountain and the Jiala Mountain and to its south are the
Qinghainan Mountains, the Guide Basin and the Gonghe Basin, which belong to the drainage
area of the Huanghe River. The drainage area of Lake Qinghai has a total area of 29 661 square kilometer, with a elevation of 3 196 to 5 714m above sea level, covering 4 counties, 29 townships Lake Qinghai lies in the lowest part in the southeast of its drainage area, . The lakes is in the shape of a pear, about 109 km long (E-W) and 651~m wide (N-S), with a circumerence of 360 km. Its water level was at 3 195.59m above sea level in 1988, with a water surface area of l,304.5 km2 and a pondage of 73.88 billion m3. Its average depth is 16m, the maximum at 27m. To the east of Lake Qinghai three lagoons lie from the north to the south: Lake Gahai, Lake Xingahai and Lake Erhai, of which Lake Gahai is the largest, which has an area of 48km2and in which are two small islands: M. Haixin and
Sankuaishi (Solitarily Trusting Mountain). Lake Qinghai is a neotectonic fault lake.
2. Landform and topography The drainage area of Lake Qinghai dips from the northwest to the southeast. It is a closed basin surrounded by mountains, in the shape of a quadrilateral, wide in the east and narrow in the west. Mountainous areas amount to about 68.6%0 of the total area while plains amount to 31.4% (including Lake Qinghai), which are of planation plains of three grades --respectively at 4 200 to 4 600m, 3 800 to 4 000m and 3 500 to 3 600m above sea level. The area has various landforms from low altitude to high altitude: lakeside plain, alluvial plain, low hills, medium and high mountains, periglacial platform and modern glacier. There is a vast stretch of place piled with sand to the north and east of the lake, in which are sandlots, moving sand dunes, half-moving and stable sand dunes. There are marshes by the lakeside and in lowlying places.


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