GeoEye-1 Satellite Image (0.5 m) – Taklamakan Desert, China
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(Image Copyright © DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)
The adventure of a lifetime! The Taklamakan Desert is China’s largest desert, situated in the middle of the Tarim Basin in Xinjiang Province. It is one of the largest ‘shifting-sand’ deserts in the world. Travel by caravan, camel or bicycle to discover towering sand dunes, lost cities, the remains of ancient forests and post-fluvial riverbeds hiding amidst the hauntingly beautiful desert vistas. GeoEye-1 satellite collected this image of Taklamakan Desert while flying 423 miles above the Earth at an average speed of 17,000 mph.
The Taklamakan Desert (also Taklimakan) is a desert of Central Asia, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. It is known as one of the largest sandy deserts in the world. It covers an area of 270,000 km2 of the Tarim Basin, 1,000 km long and 400 km wide. It is crossed at its northern and at its southern edge by two branches of the Silk Road as travelers sought to avoid the arid wasteland.
There is no water on the desert and it was hazardous to cross. Taklamakan meaning “The point of no return” or “The Desert of Death”. The archeological treasures found in its sand buried ruins point to Tocharian, early Hellenistic, Indian and Buddhist influences.
Mummies, some 4000 years old, have been found in the region. They show the wide range of peoples who have passed through. Some of the mummies appear European. Later, the Taklamakan was inhabited by Turkic peoples.