2019 Advent Calendar – December 4: Lop Nur, Xinjiang, China

Let’s move on with our World Tour! We are in Lop Nur, Xinjian, in northeastern China, at the eastern end of the Taklimakan Desert.The discovery of potash at Lop Nur in the mid-1990s turned the area into a large-scale mining operation.

The satellite image shows the bright colors characteristic of solar evaporation ponds. Salts are mined and pumped up from deep below the surface, and the solution is concentrated in these evaporation ponds. Potash is extracted and is used mainly as a chemical fertilizer for agriculture.

We love to spot evaporation pods across the world, from the Dead Sea in the Middle East, to the city of Moab, Utah, USA andthe Atacama Desert in Chile. The typical turquoise colors of the evaporation ponds contrast greatly with the surrounding environment.

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