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Aqikekule Lake Wetland in Xinjiang

 2015-01-30    Young    Sights    Xinjiang    1925  

Aqikekule Lake is the most northerly point of Qinghai-Xizang plateau, which is one large saltwater lake between A-erh-chin Mountains and the Kunlun Mountains. This lake heads up in the few small rivers from the south and west of the Kunlun Mountains and numerous intermittent stream water supplies. Aqikekule Lake is blessed with the plateau basin climate and the annual amount of precipitation of about 150mm.


The water of the lake relies mainly on the supply of local surface runoff, with the water-collecting area of about 11500 square kilometers. Aqigele Lake and a number of seasonable rivers are flowing into the lake district. The river that flow into the lake is mainly Aqigele Lake that debouches into the lake from the west direction. There's the salinity swamp with an area of about 130 square kilometers at the mouth of the lake. The main soil type in the wetland is the brown desert soil.    


This region contains areas which are primarily covered with nutgrass flatsedge, roots and weeds in the swamp, aneurolepidium dasystachys, the alpine cold alkaligrass in the salinification meadow. Aqikekule Lake belongs to the A-erh-chin Mountains national level nature reserve. Large area of land that is not or cannot be inhabited is preserved in almost its original state.


Here people could travel, climb up the mountain, make the expedition and conduct scientific research. There's the fresh water in the lakeside, which could be the ideal cantonment area for the plateau tourism, hunting, mountain-climbing and scientific expedition. Each summer as usual the brown-necked gulls would inhabit in the lakeside.


It is also often the case that you could also see the black-necked crane, Mallard, wild geese, merganser, Sandpiper and so on. The complex plateau karst landscape could provide the activities and breeding place for brown bear, wolf, Tibetan fox, Tibetan antelope and blue sheep etc.


A large number of the broad-leaved trees fossils are found at the place with the altitude of about 4,800 meters above sea level in the northern part of the lake in 1988, which demonstrated clearly that the place was once heavily forested, blessed with plentiful rain about 2 million years ago. The animals and plants flora was quite near to Yunnan.


At that time, the altitude of the mountains is about 2700 meters lower than the place now. Along with the rising of the mountains, the desert begins to replace the forest. Aqikekule Lake wetland is the habitat of a great number of water fowls like brown-necked gulls, also the base of life's continuance for some national-level wildlife under special national protection.


Aqikekule Lake wetland provides the ideal setting for conducting the scientific activities. The plant communities of the wetland are mainly the wormwood and sedge barrens. There're some scientific research activities for its inhabited feature and keeping its natural state. Since 1980, the scientists both at home and abroad encamped and made the observations in the lakeside almost every year, yet without built-in facilities.  

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