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Scientists use satellite images to measure desert in China

China’s eighth largest desert, the Kumtag, measures 22,917.2 square kilometers, according to scientists who have just returned from a month-long expedition across the Kumtag. This is the first time for Chinese scientists to measure the exact size of the Kumtag desert. A team of 15 scientists participated in the expedition, the first full-scale scientific expedition across the desert. The scientists, representing Gansu Provincial Sand Control Institute, Chinese Academy of Forestry Science and Lanzhou University, walked more than 5,000 kilometers across the desert and used remote sensing satellite images, coupled with results of field surveys, to work out the precise area of the desert.

They also collected more than 500 samples of desert animals and vegetation and at least 1,000 first-hand geological data, discovered two stratum sections that have proven valuable to scientific research, and provided evidences to support further study on the desert’s geological conditions, soil, vegetation, climate changes and changing river and lake systems.