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 40 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.
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, the 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 is, 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 geographic features. 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 the 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.
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 the 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 the 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!
Gobi Desert Facts: 21-30
21. Gobi Desert is one of the most incredible places when it comes to archeological diggings. Well, no one dug out an ancient city here, but yes, this is the place where the first dinosaur egg was unearthed.
22. Not just dinosaur eggs, a large number of dinosaur fossils are also found in this desert. A special focus goes on the Flaming Cliffs in the north-western side of this cold desert. This is the place where the chances of stumbling upon dinosaur fossils are very high.
23. Sitting in Nemegt Basin, the Flaming Cliffs are not really rocky structures. They are actually sand formations. Also known as Bayanzag, the Flaming Cliffs get their name because they look like blazing flames when the sun shines on them.
24. You know what? Gobi Desert is not just an interesting geographic location because of its interesting features. It is also a treasure land. Enormous amounts of gold and copper deposits have been identified in the location and both Mongolian and Chinese officials are planning on mining out those metals.
25. The Chinese government is actually building what is known as the Great Green Wall of China. This is a massive undertaking by the Chinese government to plant and create new forests to counter the desertification by the Gobi Desert.
26. The desert also has many different types of plants. Scientists have identified 400 different plant species in this desert so far. For instance, needle grass and gray sagebush are two very common plant species you can find in Gobi Desert.
27. Not just plants, Gobi Desert is home for many different types of animal species and many of these animals are actually exotic by nature.
28. So far, experts have identified 45 different species of birds and animals that call this desert as their home. Snow Leopards, Golden Eagle, Brown Bears, Black-tailed Gazelles, Lynxes, Sheep, Wild Camels, Sand Plovers, Jumping Rats (known as Jerboas) are some of the common life forms that can be found in this desert.
29. We mentioned in our last article on Gobi Desert facts that the desert experiences some erratic temperature fluctuations. Just how erratic? Within a matter of a few days, temperature of 25 degrees Fahrenheit can drop down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.
30. Not just that, there are times when the temperatures can reach as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit and even as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gobi Desert Facts: 31-40
31. We talked about the Devil’s City in Gobi Desert. But did you know that the Devil’s City is known for its unusual sounds and high magnetism? The sounds are created mostly by winds blowing at a high speed of 85 miles an hour.
32. The desert is known to house 5 different types of ecosystem. These ecosystems are:
- Tian Shan Range Ecosystem
- Alashan Plateau Semi-Desert Ecosystem
- Junngar Basin Semi-Desert Ecosystem
- Gobi Lakes Valley Desert Steppe Ecosystem
- Eastern Gobi Desert Steppe Ecosystem
33. Contrary to our popular notion that people don’t live in a desert, the Gobi Desert is home for not just plants and animals but also for humans. Most of these people are Han Chinese and Mongols.
34. Gobi Desert is rich in fossil fuels and has been a major site for fossil fuel extraction for a long period of time. In fact, it has one of the largest deposits of fossil fuel in the whole planet.
35. The flora found in Gobi Desert is known for their xerophytic adaptation. This means that they have short or no leaves and they have long roots that go deep in the ground to increase the surface area of water absorption.
36. Short leaves or no leaves are specifically designed to reduce moisture loss in the dry and arid conditions of the desert.
37. The desert experiences rainfall but that is very low. The average yearly rainfall in this unique desert is 7 inches.
38. Gobi Desert is known for being the home for some of the world’s largest and highest sand dunes. These sand dunes can be found in Inner Mongolia – an autonomous region of China.
39. Most of the lakes that are found in Gobi Desert are actually located in the area where these sand dunes exist. Interestingly, scientists say that these lakes have existed for a very very long time. These lakes are filled by groundwater.
40. As a matter of fact, scientific evidence shows that Stone Age people lived alongside these lakes in the Gobi Desert, but the water levels of those lakes were higher at that point in time. Over time, the water levels have declined and are still declining. However, the rate of decline is not known.