Qinghai Lake, (Tibetan: mtsho-sngo, meaning "blue lake"). It is the largest inland lake in China and is located in the northeastern part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Qinghai Province. It was formed by the collapse of the faults between Datong Mountain, Riyue Mountain, and Qinghai Nanshan in the Qilian Mountains.
Qinghai Lake is the largest saltwater lake in inland China and an important water body that maintains the ecological security of the northeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve was established in 1975 and covered an area of 495,200 hectares. The reserve was listed as a "Wetland of International Importance" in 1992.
The biggest lake in China is six times the size of Singapore, and this bright-blue beauty is getting larger yearly. Qinghai Lake is a natural miracle bestowed by God and was rated as "the most beautiful lake in China" by China National Geographic magazine. Every year, it attracts many Chinese and foreign tourists with a unique ecological environment and cultural customs. This post will introduce more facts about Qinghai Lake.
Qinghai Lake Introduction
Qinghai Lake is the largest inland lake and the largest salt lake in China. It is also China's largest lagoon and the world's second-largest lagoon. It is no exaggeration to say that Qinghai Lake is a God-given miracle. Outside, it's surrounded by four rolling mountains, stretching wide grassy areas. Inside, there are many islands in the lake.
Qinghai Lake has two sub-lakes, a saltwater Gahai Lake and a freshwater Erhai Lake. The source of Qinghai Lake relies on direct runoff and precipitation. Today, only 23 rivers and streams flow into the lake, out of which five are notable for contributing with over 80% of inflow, but it has no outflow. Even though the lake has a high salinity percentage, there is abundant fish in its waters.
Qinghai Lake is a fault depression lake, and the edge of the lake basin is mostly connected with the surrounding mountains by faults. 200,000 to 2,000,000 years ago, in the early stage of the lake, it was originally a freshwater lake connected with the Yellow River system. At that time, the climate was mild and rainy, and the lake water drained into the Yellow River from the southeast.
To 130,000 years ago, due to the neotectonic movement, the surrounding mountains were strongly uplifted, which blocked the lake that is originally poured into the Yellow River, and forced it to flow into Qinghai Lake from east to west. Sub-lakes such as Gahai and Erhai appeared. Coupled with the dry climate, Qinghai Lake has gradually changed from a freshwater lake to a saltwater lake.
Qinghai Lake Size
- Qinghai Lake stands on the Tibetan Plateau, at 3,260 meters (10,696 feet) above sea level, with an average water depth of 18.6 meters(61 ft) and a maximum depth of 32.8 meters(107.6 ft).
- It covers more than 4,500 square kilometers (91,737 square miles) in a basin fed by streams and rivers.
- The lake shoreline is 360 kilometers(224 miles) long.
Climate and Hydrology
The surrounding climate is very cool. Even at noon during summer, the daytime average temperature is about 15 degrees Celsius, and it is often chosen as a summer resort. Qinghai Lake has a plateau continental climate with sufficient sunlight; winter is cold and long. The annual precipitation in the lake area is relatively low, so the evaporation far exceeds the precipitation, and the precipitation is mostly concentrated from May to September.
The water temperature of Qinghai Lake varies with the seasons. In summer, lake water has an obvious thermosphere phenomenon, and the temperature of the lower layer of the water is lower. In winter, the lake surface freezes, and the lake water temperature has an inversion layer phenomenon. Every year from mid-November to January of the following year, the temperature in the lake area drops below 0°C, and the entire lake forms a stable ice sheet.
Qinghai Lake is surrounded by a lakeside plain, grassy swamp, alpine grassy marshland, semi-desert, and dry grassy beach with abundant wetland ecosystem and bio-resources. There are 200 species of birds and beasts in Qinghai Lake and lakeside areas, including the Brown-headed Gull, Great Cormorant, Bar-headed Goose, and Black-necked Crane. As a plateau lake, Qinghai Lake is a paradise for summer breeders. From April to June every year, around 100,000 birds fly to the reserve for summer breeding. Qinghai lake also boasts abundant fish resources that serve as a food source for birds.
Qinghai Province is little known to tourists, an important birthplace of one of the Chinese ethnic minority cultures. Qinghai Lake a sacred Lake for Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims. There is a Tibetan folk custom that pilgrims should walk around the lake in the Year of Goat, circle the mountains in the Year of Horse, and circle the forest in the Year of Monkey. By traveling to Qinghai Lake, you can get close to the devoted Tibetans and appreciate Tibetan culture. Qinghai Lake has different scenery in different seasons, and the summer months are more crowded when the weather is warm.