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20 Interesting Gobi Desert Facts – Part I

Gobi Desert facts that you find here will scream and say that Nature is the most unparalleled architect ever known to mankind. The Gobi Desert is a screaming testament of how erratic and crazy Nature can become while still maintaining her beauty. In this article titled 20 interesting Gobi Desert facts, we will gain some unusual knowledge about this sea of sands. We are damn sure that you will like these facts and find your love for deserts (if at all it existed) renewed.

Interesting Gobi Desert Facts: 1-10

1. Gobi Desert is the largest Asian desert. The desert stretches out in two countries. On one side it extends out to Mongolia’s south and on the other side it reaches out to northern and northwestern parts of China.

2. Though the desert is present both in China and Mongolia, people usually refer to this desert as a Chinese desert. That is either lack of knowledge or just an attempt to keep things short.

3. The desert is vast but it is actually surrounded by Mongolian grasslands and Altai Mountains. Just in case you are not aware, Altai Mountains sit in a place where 4 Asian countries come together – China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Russia.

4. The desert is massive. Running northwest to southwest, the desert covers a length of 1600 kilometers. Whereas, running from north to south, the desert covers a length of 800 kilometers.

5. In case those measurements are not good enough to give you a clear picture of how big this desert it, consider this – Gobi Desert sits over an arc-shaped land that has an area of 1.3 million square kilometers.

6. The whole desert is surrounded by different types of demographics. We have already mentioned that but here are the details:

  • Towards the north of the desert sits the Mongolian steppes and grasslands.
  • Altai Mountains also sit to the north of the desert.
  • Southwest of the desert is guarded by Tibetan Plateau.
  • The Hexi Corridor also sits to the southwest of the desert.
  • On the west, the Gobi Desert is surrounded by the Taklamakan Desert.
  • To the southeast of the desert sits the North China Plain.

7. The desert holds a very important historical place. It was actually a part of the largest contiguous land empire of world – the great Mongolian Empire.

8. Yet another historical significance is that Gobi Desert housed several important cities like Dunhuang, Hami, Old Turpan etc. These cities are important because they lay along the Silk Route.

9. Chinese people have alternative names for the desert. Two of the most famous alternative names include Sha-mo, which literally means sand desert and Han-hal, which translates in English as Dry Sea.

10. While those are really interesting names, the name Gobi itself literally translates into Waterless Place.

Interesting Gobi Desert Facts: 11-20

11. Though Gobi Desert is vast and the largest in Asia, it is not the largest in this entire world. In fact, it ranks 5th in sheer size when whole of the world is considered.

12. Though the desert is 5th largest in the world, it may soon take an upper stop in the ranking sheet because the desert is actually expanding by a process known as desertification. This desertification is taking place at a rapid rate of 1390 square miles a year. The desert is penetrating into the grasslands of China.

13. One of the most interesting Gobi Desert facts is that irrespective of the images shown, most of the desert is free of sand. Only 5% of the desert is covered by sand dunes.

14. The other areas of the desert are either completely rocky or are covered by large dry grasslands. Is that the type of picture you imagined? No one does actually but that’s the truth.

15. Talking of rocks, Gobi Desert is the home for Yadan National Geological Park of China where you can find amazing stone and earthen sculptures created by natural elements over a period of 300,000 to 700,000 years. In this park is a special place known as the Devil’s City.

16. One more of the several interesting Gobi Desert facts is that it is actually a cold desert. You can find snow even on sand dunes during the winter months.

17. The major reason for this to happen is the altitude at which majority of the desert sits. The major chunk of the desert sits at an altitude of 1,500 meter above sea level on a plateau.

18. The desert is home for some extreme temperature fluctuations. There can be sun-scorched landscapes during the summers and it can also experience frosty winters. The desert is mostly dry because the Great Himalayan Ranges block the rain-clad winds from reaching the desert.

19. In case you want to experience snow on Gobi Desert, you should consider visiting the desert between January and February. You can actually see snow coverings on sand dunes. This is the only desert in this world to have this contrasting feature.

20. Apart from sand, grassland and rocks, the desert also has water bodies. You can literally find underground rivers and surface rivers running through the Gobi Desert. Not just rivers, you can also find some lakes scattered here and there. So, if you are thirsty while travelling across Gobi Desert and you suddenly see water, no need to ignore it as a mirage. It may be an actual water body! Simply go for it!

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Image Credits: 1, 2