China: A team of scientific investigators conducted 6,500-kilometer expedition of Lop Nor, China, in 29 days. Lop Nur, or Lop Lake is China’s most intriguing and dangerous areas. It is also known as the Sea of Death from which nobody escapes.
Scientists used the most advanced remote sensing, satellite and radar techniques to inspect the Lop Nor region in geography, natural sources, climate and environment changes, wild animals, microbes and other fields have discovered seven new things about the region.
1. The “big ear” is actually in the shape of a round basin
Seen from satellite picture, the image of dry Lop Nor looks like a person’s ear. However, the recent scientific investigation found that the area of the ancient Lop Nor Lake is bigger than that of the “big ear”; and was a round and closed lake thousands of years ago.
Scientists confirmed the proof for existence of the north lake line, thus the area of the Lop Nor is not only 5,350 square kilometres, but over tens of thousands of square kilometres.
The mystery of the “big ear” comes from a satellite picture published on an American academic magazine in 1980s. The picture showed an ear-like place on Earth, thus leading to arguments and debates in the scientific world.
2. The Lop Nor totally dried in 1962
Based on the information gathered through remote sensing, the scientific team speculatedthat the Lop Nor totally dried in 1962. It was only a shallow belly and the deepest place was not deeper than three meters, so if the lake was cut off from water since 1959, it should have dried within two or three years.
3. The Yadan landform of the region was jointly formed by wind and water
At the northern, eastern and western parts of the Lop Nor region, there are about 3,000 square kilometres of yadan landform, which is China’s second biggest yadan landform distribution region. Running water as well as traditional wind power is reported to have played an important role in its formation.
4. It is the most drought-prone inland area around Asia
According to the three automatic weather stations placed in the region, the annual amount of local precipitation is less than 10 millimetres. However, the region’s annual evaporating ability is more than 4,800 millimetres. On several occasions, the local relative air humidity was even zero. The Lop Nor region had already become the drought centre of inland Asia.
5. At least 70 kinds of insects are stilling living in the area
As of now, there are 36 kinds of desert plants living in the area and they have all evolved special physiological structures to suit the salt and drought conditions. Also, scientists found at least 70 kinds of insects living here, and most of them go into dormancy to avoid the dry seasons.
6. A new ancient city site was found
During the inspection, scientists found ruins of an ancient wall, built around 400 or 500 A.D. and . Judging from its cultural relics and location, it might be “Zhubincheng” in history books.
7. Agricultural traces were found to the east of Lou Lan ancient city
In the wooden books unearthed from Lou Lan ancient city, there are some records about agriculture when the city was still thriving.
Scientists found some suspicious images when they looked at the satellite picture of Lou Lan area, and when they inspected the area, which is about 10 kilometers east to Lou Lan ancient city, they found traces of the earth had been irrigated. At the same time, they also found plant spores with a diameter of 47 microns through studies of earth samples here (usually if a plant spore’s diameter is bigger than 40 microns, then the plant could possibly be grain corp), which could be the evidence of farming.
Source: People’s Daily Online