Facts about Gobi Desert

22 facts about Gobi Desert

Largest desert in Asia

The landscape is very diverse, with steppes, deserts and semi-deserts interspersed, as well as a valley with lakes. Despite its name suggesting conditions not conducive to life, the Gobi is home to both rich fauna and nomadic people who have inhabited the area for centuries. There are interesting archaeological sites and remains of extinct animals.
It is a continental desert.
The Gobi Desert is actually an area that includes several steppes, deserts and semi-deserts of East Asia.
The Gobi is located in northern China and southern Mongolia.
It is surrounded by the Altai Mountains to the north and the Tian Shan Mountains to the west.
It is one of the least populated areas in the world.
Only about 58 000 people live there so the population density is 0,044 people per km² (0,116 per sq mi).
It consists mainly of gravel-stone deserts and semi-deserts separated by dry steppes.
Only a small area of the desert is covered with sands.
The Gobi Desert is divided into 5 distinct ecological regions, ranging from harsh desert through steppe to lake valley.
One of the largest sand dunes in the world are located here.
The Khongoryn Els region has a enormous range of sand dunes. They are 12 km (7,4 mi) wide, 180 km (112 mi)  long and 80 m (262 ft) high.
The Gobi desert is expanding all the time.
The greatest expansion is seen towards the south, where desertification of about 3600 km² (1390 sq mi) of the steppes of the Chinese territory is observed every year. The expansion of the desert is caused by both global warming and direct human activity, mainly excessive cattle breeding and exploitation of water resources.
In order to prevent further expansion of the desert, the Chinese government plans to create the so-called Green Wall of China.
It is expected to be an artificially planted green belt consisting of forests and shrubs.
The Gobi is inhabited by migratory peoples engaged in cattle ranching.
The area of the Gobi is approximately 1,295,000 km² (500,000 sq mi).
It is the 6th largest desert in the world and largest in Asia.
The Gobi Desert is over 1,680 km (1,045 mi) long in the southwest-northeast direction and over 800 km (500 mi) in the north-south direction.
The widest section is in the western part.
Long time ago The Silk Road ran through the desert area and several cities were built on it.
It was and is a network of trade routes connecting the East and West allowing different civilizations to exchange goods, knowledge and culture. It lasted from 2nd century BCE to 18th century.
The temperature range in the Gobi desert is quite large. In summer temperatures here can exceed 40 °C (104 °F)  and in winter fall below -40 °C (-40 °F).
Moreover temperatures can change rapidly of as much as  35 °C (63 °F) within 24 hours.
The Gobi is a cold desert.
Snow covering sand dunes can be seen there occasionally.
The total annual precipitation varies from 50 to 200 mm (1.96 to 7.87 in) depending on the region.
The endemic species of the Gobi desert is the Przewalski's horse.
An attempt to reconstruct the population of this species in the wild is currently underway.
Animals characteristic of the area include onagets, snow leopards, bactrian camels and przewalski's horses.
Brown bears, wolves, donkeys and lizards can also be encountered on the Gobi.
Traces of primitive stone working have been found in the Gobi area, which are dated to over 100,000 years ago.
In 1987 the Mogao Caves located in the desert were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mogao is a complex of 492 rock Buddhist temples, the oldest of which date back to the 4th century AD.
During paleontological research conducted between 1922 and 1923, dinosaur skeletons were discovered in the Gobi area
Alongside the skeletons paleonthologists found dinosaur eggs. It was first documented dinosaur egg discovery in human history.
The Gobi is one of the most abundant Late Cretaceous paleontological sites in the world.
Fossils of the first mammals can also be found here.
Visiting the Gobi Desert, we can participate in organized tours for tourists on camels, quads or jeeps.