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Crescent-shaped oasis lake’s from above

In the Gobi desert, at the foot of Mingshashan lies the 200 m long Lake of the Crescent Moon (Yueyaquan), which gets its name from its crescent-like shape. The formation of the lake resulted from a geological peculiarity - the north and south slopes are higher than the east and west - and from the wind which blows from west to east. The wind initially blows in a southeasterly direction, and is then forced upwards where it rotates spirally before finally retreating in an easterly direction. As a result, the lake has never once become silted up with sand in 1000 years.

Yueyaquan is a crescent-shaped lake in the oasis, 5 km southwest of the city Dunhuang of Gansu province, China. It was named Yueyaquan since Qing Dynasty. According to measurement made in 1960, the average depth of the lake was 4 to 5 meters, with maximum depth 7.5 meters. In the following 40 years, the depth of lake continually declined. In the early 1990s, the area of the lake had shrunken to only 5,500 m2 with average depth of 0.9 meter (maximum 1.3 meter). Although local government had plans to restore the depth through filling with water, the lack of budget has delayed their actions.

Picture taken flying with an ULM above the Echoing-Sand Mountain, Crescent Spring can be called a natural wonder in the Gobi Desert. Some say it reminds them of the eye of a beautiful woman, lucid, beautiful and amorous. Some say it looks like the mysterious, gentle and seductive lips of a pretty woman, or a slice of lush, sweet and crystal cantaloupe. Actually, it resembles a crescent fallen down into this desert. Having been lying among these sand dunes for thousands of years, although given many surprise attacks by sandstorms, Crescent Spring still gurgles clear, and still remains worthy as the first spring in the desert.

Few people walking around will give you the size of the scene. Enjoy!

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If you have a look at the Special Issue of TIME The year in Picture (december 21, 09) you will find the same area as a double page. I am not sure to understand why this should be considered one of the best picture of 2009. Have a look.

pauloog, Wanda1, jmcl, blueaquan, tzourob, ngythanh has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Michel Detay (mdetay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 493 W: 1 N: 1025] (4865)
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