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Section 1

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Section 2
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Section 3
xinjiang saram river



xinjiang tarim river
   


Rivers and lakes are the lifeblood of Xinjiang¡¯s large and small oasis. Their distribution and scenery as well as the local customs and products of the surrounding areas have been frequently described in Chinese historical and geographical literature. Nevertheless, only in the past few decades have comprehensive surveys been carried out, providing us with precise knowledge of these rivers and lakes.Xinjiang has a total of 300 rivers rising in the mountains. Except for the Ertix River, all are inland rivers, most of them flowing through western Xinjiang. The best known are the Aksu River, Yarkant River, Hotan River (these three join in their lower reaches to form the Tarim River), Ili River, Ertix River, Kaidu River and Konqi River. As the rivers flow, many of them dwindle away and disappear in the desert while others discharge into lakes. Because Xinjiang has little rainfall, rivers are the chief water resource for farming in the oases. The people of Xinjiang have lived by the side of rivers since time immemorial. The well-known Ili River rises in the western Tianshan Mountains. Its upper reaches are formed by three tributaries the Tekes, Kunes and Kaxgar rivers¡ªand it flows west across the frontier into Lake Balkash in the Soviet Union. The Ili River has the largest volume of water in Xinjiang, with its runoff accounting for one fifth of the total of all rivers in the region. About three fourths of its waters pour across the frontier. The middle and lower reaches of the river flow slowly and smoothly and are navigable for motor vessels between Yamatu and the border. Fertile and flat, with a humid climate and plentiful rainfall, the river valley is a cornucopia of food, edible oils and fruits, while the river itself abounds in carp, bream, perch and other fish.Rising in the southern slopes of the Altai Mountains, the Ertix River is the only river in China that flows north across the frontier into Siberia and empties into the Arctic Ocean. Running 600 kilometers within China, it is the second largest river in Xinjiang in terms of water volume. In summer when the river is in spate, a home of the celebrated Fuhai (Burultokay) big-tail sheep and huso sturgeon. The Tarim River runs for 1,000 kilometers but taken together with its tributary, the Yarkant River, the Tarim is 2,I37 kilometers long, making it the longest inland river in China. In ancient times,, most of the rivers in the Tarim Basin joined the Tarim River, but later, as farming developed in their upper reaches, people diverted many small rivers into their irrigation systems. Today only three rivers the Aksu, Yarkant and Hotan flow into the Tarim River.Since the founding of the People¡¯s Republic of China, local inhabitants have reclaimed land on a large scale, built reservoirs on the banks of the Tarim River and diverted quantities of water from the river. As a result, the Tarim River runs low gradually as it flows from its upper to lower reaches. In the past the river had enough water to spare for Lake Lop Nur and Lake Taitema but today the river ends in the Daxihaizi Reservoir near Tikanlik. Without a watersupply, the two lakes have dried up. Mountain torrents maintain a high water table on the banks of the Tarim River, bringing thick vegetation and needed agriculture. Since the 1950s, a large contingent of soldiers transferred to civilian work have built dozens of large state farms on the river banks, turning the area into a center for food grain, cotton, fruits and sericulture in southern Xinjiang. From its source in the central southern slopes of the Tianshan Mountains, the Kaidu River flows through the Yulduz Basin to pour into Lake Bosten (Bagrax), the outflow of which is then known as the Konqi River. The Konqi River used to discharge into Lake LopNur in the past, but after hydroelectric stations were built all the river water was drained into irrigation systems. Xinjiang has a total of one hundred lakes scattered north and south of the Tianshan Mountains, falling into two major categories One is the terminus of a river and is mostly a salt lake, such as Lake Lop Nur while the other kind, lying in the middle reaches of a river, are freshwater lakes that regulate the river flow. Examples include Lake Bosten, Lake Kanas and scenic Lake Tianchi near Urumqi. Lying 778 meters above sea level, Lop Nur used to be the most famous large lake in arid northwestern China. According to ancient Chinese literature, this body of water was 150 kilometers long and was fed by both the Tarim and Konqi rivers carrying quantities of mineral matter that settled in the lake giving the water a high salt content. The area around was luxuriant grassland, and the ancient Silk Road passed by the lake. To the northwest of Lake Lop Nur was the ancient city of Loulan, a military strongpoint and trading center on the Silk Road. Today most of it has been buried by sandstorms, and this mystery of the past remains to be unlocked by archaeologists.Today there is not a single drop of water left in the undulating salt encrusted basin of what was Lake Lop Nur. The extreme aridity and grim inhospitality of the region with its severe climate, has meant that Lake Lop Nur remains shrouded in mystery. Some foreign archaeologists once asserted that it was a ¡°moving lake,¡± arousing controversy among Chinese and¡¯ foreign scientists for decades. However in 1980 and 1981 the Xinjiang branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences organized an exploration team headed by the noted scientist Peng Jiamu to survey Lake Lop Nur. Their observations confirmed that the lake had not moved. What had happened was that the Tarim River had changed its course in its lower reaches and formed a new lake, thus depriving the old Lake Lop Nur of its water supply so that it gradually dwindled and eventually dried up. Even at the end of the 1950s when Chinese scientists explored the north shore of Lake Lop Nur, they saw the lake covered with water stretching for hundreds of square kilometers. The~y rowed, in rubber boats on the lake and caught fish measuring one meter long. In 1973, however, satellite photos showed no water at all but only the semi-circular vestiges of a shoreline, like an enormous ear left to listen to the strange sonata of the sandstorms over the ancient wilderness. Lake Bosten is China¡¯s largest inland body of freshwater. Lying in the Yanqi Basin south of the Tianshan Mountains, it covers 980 square kilometers at 1,048 meters above sea level. The lake is so vast that when the wind rises, surging waves form as in the sea. On the western side of the lake are many small lakes connected to the major lake like a cluster of grapes. Overgrown with reeds and lotus, they form the habitat of numerous water birds. The lake gets a steady supply of water from the Kaidu and other rivers, thus benefiting local irrigation in this otherwise arid region. The best reeds in China are grown here, and reaching a height of ten meters they make good building and paper-making material. The reeds are shipped in quantities to other parts of China each year. Lake Bosten is also one of the two major fishing centers in Xinjiang. The lake provides plentiful catches of crucian carp and other fish, while local inhabitants raise muskrat and mink in the marshes around the lake. The other major fishing center is Lake Ulungur lying north of the Tianshan Mountains. It is fed by the Ulungur River and covers 800 square kilometers. Known as ¡°the pearl of the Junggar Basin,¡± the lake is dotted with white sails while water birds hover and wheel above. Fishermen catch fish in the lake all the year round, and even when the water surface is frozen in winter and spring, they break holes in the ice to drop their nets. The annual catch averages 4,000 to 5,000 tons. In addition water is diverted from the lake to irrigate many state farms around.There are some beautiful crystal-clear highland lakes in the western part of the Tianshan Mountains. The best known are Lake Tianchi halfway up Mount Bogda and Lake Sayram in Bortala, both of which attract many tourists.