Crescent Lake: A Desert Oasis in China

August 11, 2012
Located approximately 6 km (3.73 miles) from the outskirts of the city of Dunhuang in Western China, lies Crescent Lake, an incredible oasis in the Gobi desert. Known as Yueyaquan in Chinese, the crescent-shaped lake is a major tourist attraction where one of the world’s great shrines to Buddhism resides.
Designated a World Heritage Site, the lake has been shrinking since the 1970s and is now about a third of its original size. In the last three decades alone, the lake has dropped more than 25 feet. However, it has been reported that the government has recently taken steps to preserve the site and restore the depth of the lake to previous levels (unsure how well that initiative is going though).

An ancient city that once served as China’s gateway to the West, Dunhuang is now threatened by very modern demands. A dam built three decades ago to help local farming, combined with a doubling of the population, have overstressed a fragile desert hydrology that had been stable for thousands of years. As more people arrived, the underground water table that is the city’s main source of drinking water started dropping.
In the photographs below you will see both aerials and closeups of this incredible desert jewel. Let’s hope the lake doesn’t dry up and can be enjoyed by many future generations to come.
Yueyaquan (Chinese: ???; pinyin: Yuèyá Quán) is a crescent-shaped lake in an oasis, 6 km south of the city of Dunhuang in Gansu Province, China. It was named Yueyaquan in the Qing Dynasty. According to measurements made in 1960, the average depth of the lake was 4 to 5 meters, with a maximum depth of 7.5 metres (25 ft) In the following 40 years, the depth of the lake continually declined. In the early 1990s, its area had shrunk to only 1.37 acres (5,500 m2) with an average depth of 0.9 meter (maximum 1.3 meter). In 2006, the local government with help of the central government started to fill the lake and restore its depth; its depth and size have been growing yearly since then. The lake and the surrounding deserts are very popular with tourists, who are offered camel and 4×4 rides.
YueYaQuan is located in the west of the hexi corridor of dunhuang city, gansu province. Dunhuang was ancient “silk road” of the city center. In the long history of the Chinese and western cultural exchange, where there were Chinese and western culture celebrities assemble land. Because each other’s QuJingYongHong, blend mutually, created the attention of the world “dunhuang culture”, for human left many cultural treasure. YueYaQuan, called shajing, heath family medicine springs, since the han dynasty since that for “dunhuang eight sights, one of the name” YueQuan XiaoChe “. YueYaQuan nearly 100 meters long from south, things about 25 meters wide, spring dongshen west shallow, most deep place about 5 m, as crooked as the new moon, hence its name, has “the desert first organizers,” said. One curved spring, lingering ripples A.I., such as jade. Spring in quicksand, drought don’t dry up, and the wind sand not fall, a tremendous spectacle. The scholars of this unique mountain spring landscape, desert wonders compliments.
The moon spring, spring green, such as a jade inlays in the gold like sand dunes. Fountain thick reed, the breeze up place, jade
Waves and reflect the water wanted, a tremendous spectacle. For YueYaQuan in one hundred and not for sand cover up the great mystery, there are many claim. Some people think that, this area is the original DangHe may river basin, is part of the dunhuang oasis, because move sand dunes, the waterway changes, thus became the water alone. Because the low-lying, seepage in the underground water to keep the springs of added to make Juan flow of time, not drought without water. The explanation is seen as the YueYaQuan appears to have not disappeared a reason, but could not account for HeFei sand YueYaQuan does not fall.

Reference: , nytimes

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