Gobi Desert

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The Gobi (Mongolian: Говь, Govi, "semidesert"; Chinese: 戈壁; pinyin: Gēbì) is a large desert region in Asia. It covers parts of northern and northwestern China, and of southern Mongolia. The desert basins of the Gobi are bounded by the Altai Mountains and the grasslands and steppes of Mongolia on the north, by the Hexi Corridor and Tibetan Plateau to the southwest, and by the North China Plain to the southeast. The Gobi is made up of several distinct ecological and geographic regions based on variations in climate and topography. This desert is the fifth largest in the world.

The Gobi is most notable in history as part of the great Mongol Empire, and as the location of several important cities along the Silk Road.

The Gobi is a rain shadow desert formed by the Himalaya range blocking rain-carrying clouds from reaching the Gobi.

Contents

Geography

The Gobi measures over 1,610 km (1,000 mi) from southwest to northeast and 800 km (497 mi) from north to south. The desert is widest in the west, along the line joining the Lake Bosten and the Lop Nor (87°-89° east). It occupies an arc of land 1,295,000 km2 (500,002 sq mi)[1] in area, making it fifth largest in the world and Asia's largest. Much of the Gobi is not sandy but is covered with bare rock.

The Gobi has several different Chinese names, including 沙漠 (Shāmò, actually a generic term for deserts in general) and 瀚海 (Hànhǎi, "endless sea"). In its broadest definition, the Gobi includes the long stretch of desert and semi-desert area extending from the foot of the Pamirs, 77° east, to the Greater Khingan Mountains, 116°-118° east, on the border of Manchuria; and from the foothills of the Altay, Sayan, and Yablonoi mountain ranges on the north to the Kunlun, Altyn-Tagh, and Qilian mountain ranges, which form the northern edges of the Tibetan Plateau, on the south.[citation needed]

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