UNUSUAL & RARE Gobi Chalcedony Spheroid BEAD Desert Agate LOT rock gemstone NR

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Seller: Top-Rated Seller callistodesigns (35,628) 99.5%, Location: Tucson, Arizona, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 362267582738 Hi there. I am selling this nice lot of 5 Gobi Desert Chalcedony gemstone beads!Each bag of beads that you will get with have 5 stones and weigh an average of 11-18 carats, which is 2.2-3.6 grams. The stones range in size from 10 to 15 mm. I offer a shipping discount for customers who combine their payments for multiple purchases into one payment!The discount is regular shipping price for the first item and just 50 cents for each additional item!Please be sure to request a combined invoice before you make your payment. Thank you. Okay, so I have sold these small round Chalcedony Gobi Ball stones for a very long time, and I have NEVER EVER even seen anyone else ever have them. They are so rare and so unusual, and I just think they are the coolest things ever! WELL, for the first time, EVER, I now have these same stones drilled!!!I bought a huge collection of old minerals from an estate of an old miner and he had some of the most unusual stuff I had ever seen. I have had such a gigantic demand for the Gobi stones, I thought as soon as I saw the drilled beads, I better just snatch them up and buy all that I can, b/c I boughtall the Gobi stones (un-drilled) about 6 years ago, and have looked and looked and looked, and still never seen them ever again. I fear that would be the same with these.So I got these beads 2 years ago (just got around to selling them now, geez, had a baby, so you know) and I have looked since that sale two years ago, and I have never seen these again. So, I suspect that they will be as rare and unusual as the actual Gobi stones, if not more, since I have never seen beads before or since, the actual purchase of these, and I got ALL THEY HAD!These are known for sure to come from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, someone once told me that they have known that these chalcedony stones have been known to come from the Chinese side of the Gobi desert as well.They are a very unusual form of Chalcedony and until I acquired these, I had never seen or heard of them before. It's entirely possible that when my supply of these runs out, I will never find more of them. (side note: I was informed recently that these rocks are seen as spiritual and healing stones in China, Mongolia and the surrounding area of the Gobi. And it is rumored that they are Sherpa found and Sherpa collected and are often used as prayer beads in jewelry) If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask me. Have fun bidding, and know that I will ship this out the same day as the payment clears. Thanks so much for visiting my auction and have a great day:>) ChalcedonyFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, searchChalcedony A cut and polished Chalcedony geodeGeneralCategoryOxide mineralChemical formulaSilica (silicon dioxide, SiO2)IdentificationMolar mass60 g / molColorVariousCrystal systemTrigonalCleavageAbsentFractureUneven, splintery, conchoidalMohs scale hardness6 - 7LusterWaxy, vitreous, dull, greasy, silkyStreakWhiteDiaphaneityTranslucentSpecific gravity2.59 - 2.61References[1]Chalcedony (pronounced /kælˈsɛdəni/) is a cryptocrystalline form of silica, composed of very fine intergrowths of the minerals quartz and moganite.[2] These are both silica minerals, but they differ in that quartz has a trigonal crystal structure, whilst moganite is monoclinic. Chalcedony has a waxy luster, and may be semitransparent or translucent. It can assume a wide range of colors, but those most commonly seen are white to gray, grayish-blue or a shade of brown ranging from pale to nearly black. The mineral gets its name from the town of Chalcedon. Contents [hide]1 Varieties1.1 Agate1.2 Aventurine1.3 Carnelian1.4 Chrysoprase1.5 Heliotrope1.6 Moss agate1.7 Mtorolite1.8 Onyx2 History3 Geochemistry3.1 Structure3.2 Solubility3.2.1 Solubility of quartz and chalcedony in pure water4 See also5 References6 External linksVarieties Chalcedony occurs in a wide range of varieties. Many semi-precious gemstones are in fact forms of chalcedony. The more notable varieties of chalcedony are as follows: Agate AgateAgate is a variety of chalcedony with multi-colored curved or angular banding. Fire agate shows iridescent phenomena on a brown background; iris agate shows exceptional iridescence when light (especially pinpointed light) is shone through the stone. Landscape agate is chalcedony with a number of different mineral impurities making the stone resemble landscapes.[3] Aventurine Aventurine (Unknown scale)Aventurine is a form of quartz, characterised by its translucency and the presence of platy mineral inclusions that give a shimmering or glistening effect termed aventurescence. Aventurine (unknown scale)The most common colour of aventurine is green, but it may also be orange, brown, yellow, blue, or gray. Chrome-bearing fuchsite (a variety of muscovite mica) is the classic inclusion, and gives a silvery green or blue sheen. Oranges and browns are attributed to hematite or goethite. Because aventurine is a rock, its physical properties vary: its specific gravity may lie between 2.64-2.69 and its hardness is somewhat lower than single-crystal quartz at around 6.5. Aventurine (unknown scale)Aventurine feldspar or sunstone can be confused with orange and red aventurine quartzite, although the former is generally of a higher transparency. Aventurine is often banded and an overabundance of fuchsite may render it opaque, in which case it may be mistaken for malachite at first glance. The name aventurine derives from the Italian "a ventura" meaning "by chance". This is an allusion to the lucky discovery of aventurine glass or goldstone at some point in the 18th century. Although it was known first, goldstone is now a common imitation of aventurine and sunstone. Goldstone is distinguished visually from the latter two minerals by its coarse flecks of copper, dispersed within the glass in an unnaturally uniform manner. It is usually a golden brown, but may also be found in blue or green. The majority of green and blue-green aventurine originates in India (particularly in the vicinity of Mysore and Madras) where it is employed by prolific artisans. Creamy white, gray and orange material is found in Chile, Spain and Russia. Most material is carved into beads and figurines with only the finer examples fashioned into cabochons, later being set into jewellery. Main markets for aventurine are landscape stone, building stone, aquaria, monuments, and jewellery. Carnelian CarnelianCarnelian (also spelled cornelian) is a clear-to-translucent reddish-brown variety of chalcedony. Its hue may vary from a pale orange, to an intense almost-black coloration. Similar to carnelian is sard, which is brown rather than red. Chrysoprase ChrysopraseChrysoprase (also spelled chrysophrase) is a green variety of chalcedony, which has been colored by nickel oxide. (The darker varieties of chrysoprase are also referred to as prase. However, the term prase is also used to describe green quartz, and to a certain extent is a color-descriptor, rather than a rigorously defined mineral variety.) Heliotrope Heliotrope, or bloodstoneHeliotrope is a green variety of chalcedony, containing red inclusions of iron oxide. These inclusions resemble drops of blood, giving heliotrope its alternative name of bloodstone. A similar variety, in which the spots are yellow instead of red is known as plasma. Moss agate Moss agateMoss agate (also known as tree agate or mocha stone) contains green filament-like inclusions, giving it the superficial appearance of moss or blue cheese. It is not a true form of agate, as it lacks agate's defining feature of concentric banding. Mtorolite MtoroliteMtorolite is a green variety of chalcedony, which has been colored by chromium. It is principally found in Zimbabwe. Onyx Several onyx formsOnyx is a variant of agate with black and white banding. Similarly, agate with brown and white banding is known as sardonyx. History Chalcedony cameo of Titus head, 2nd Century ADAs early as the Bronze Age chalcedony was in use in the Mediterranean region; for example, on Minoan Crete at the Palace of Knossos, chalcedony seals have been recovered dating to circa 1800 BC.[4] People living along the Central Asian trade routes used various forms of chalcedony, including carnelian, to carve intaglios, ring bezels (the upper faceted portion of a gem projecting from the ring setting), and beads that show strong Graeco-Roman influence. Fine examples of first century objects made from chalcedony, possibly Kushan, were found in recent years at Tillya-tepe in north-western Afghanistan.[5] Hot wax would not stick to it so it was often used to make seal impressions. The term chalcedony is derived from the name of the ancient Greek town Chalkedon in Asia Minor, in modern English usually spelled Chalcedon, today the Kadıköy district of Istanbul. Chalcedony knife, AD 1000-1200At least three varieties of chalcedony were used in the Jewish High Priest's Breastplate. (Moses' brother Aaron wore the Breastplate, with inscribed gems representing the twelve tribes of Israel). The Breastplate included jasper, chrysoprase and sardonyx, and there is some debate as to whether other agates were also used. In the 19th century Idar Oberstein became the world's largest chalcedony processing center, in particular agates. Most of these agates were sourced in Latin America, in particular Brazil. Originally the agate carving industry around Idar and Oberstein was driven by local deposits that were mined in the 15th century.[6] Several factors contributed to the re-emergence of Idar-Oberstein as agate center of the world: ships brought agate nodules back as ballast, thus providing extremely cheap transport. Cheap labor and a superior knowledge of chemistry allowing them to dye the agates in any color with processes that were kept secret. Each mill in Idar Oberstein had four or five grindstones. These were of red sandstone, obtained from Zweibrücken; and two men ordinarily worked together at the same stone.[6] Geochemistry Structure Chalcedony was once thought to be a fibrous variety of cryptocrystalline quartz.[7] More recently however, it has been shown to also contain a monoclinic polymorph of quartz, known as moganite.[2] The fraction, by mass, of moganite within a typical chalcedony sample may vary from less than 5% to over 20%.[8] The existence of moganite was once regarded as dubious, but it is now officially recognised by the International Mineralogical Association.[9][10] Solubility Chalcedony is more soluble than quartz under low-temperature conditions, despite the two minerals being chemically identical. This is thought to be because chalcedony is extremely finely grained (cryptocrystalline), and so has a very high surface area to volume ratio. [citation needed] It has also been suggested that the higher solubility is due to the moganite component.[8] [edit] Solubility of quartz and chalcedony in pure water This table gives equilibrium concentrations of total dissolved silicon as calculated by PHREEQC using the llnl.dat database[citation needed]. TemperatureQuartz Solubility (mg/L)Chalcedony Solubility (mg/L)0.01°C0.681.3425.0°C2.644.9250.0°C6.9512.3575.0°C14.2124.23100.0°C24.5940.44 Gobi Desert From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2007) This article is largely based on an article in the out-of-copyright Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, which was produced in 1911. It should be brought up to date to reflect subsequent history or scholarship (including the references, if any). When you have completed the review, replace this notice with a simple note on this article's talk page. (January 2011)"Gobi" redirects here. For other uses, see Gobi (disambiguation).Gobi Desert (Говь)DesertOmnogoviLandscape.jpgGobi Desert landscape in Ömnögovi Province, MongoliaCountriesMongolia, ChinaMongolian AimagsBayankhongor, Dornogovi, Dundgovi, Govi-Altai, Govisümber, Ömnögovi, SükhbaatarChinese Autonomous RegionInner Mongolia LandmarkNemegt Basin Length1,500 km (932 mi), SE/NWWidth800 km (497 mi), N/SArea1,295,000 km2 (500,002 sq mi) The Gobi Desert lies in the territory of the People's Republic of China and Mongolia. This article contains special characters. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols.The Gobi (/ˈɡoʊ.bi/; 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 Taklamakan Desert to the West, by the Hexi Corridor and Tibetan Plateau to the southwest, and by the North China Plain to the southeast. 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 made up of several distinct ecological and geographic regions based on variations in climate and topography. One is the Eastern Gobi desert steppe ecoregion, a palearctic ecoregion in the deserts and xeric shrublands biome, home to the Bactrian camel and various other animals.[1] It is a rain shadow desert formed by the Himalaya range blocking rain-carrying clouds from the Indian Ocean from reaching the Gobi territory. Contents 1 Geography2 Climate3 Conservation, ecology, and economy4 Desertification5 Ecoregions of the Gobi5.1 Eastern Gobi desert steppe5.2 Alashan Plateau semi-desert5.3 Dzungarian Basin semi-desert6 European exploration up to 19117 See also8 Notes9 References10 Further reading11 External linksGeography The Gobi measures over 1,600 km (1,000 mi) from southwest to northeast and 800 km (500 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 (500,000 sq mi)[2] in area as of 2007; it is the fifth-largest desert in the world and Asia's largest. Much of the Gobi is not sandy but has exposed bare rock. The Gobi has several different Chinese names, including 沙漠 (Shāmò, a generic term for deserts) 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] Gobi desert near DunhuangA relatively large area on the east side of the Greater Khingan range, between the upper waters of the Songhua (Sungari) and the upper waters of the Liao-ho, is reckoned to belong to the Gobi by conventional usage. Some geographers and ecologists prefer to regard the western area of the Gobi region (as defined above): the basin of the Tarim in Xinjiang and the desert basin of Lop Nor and Hami (Kumul), as forming a separate and independent desert, called the Taklamakan Desert. Archeologists and paleontologists have done excavations in the Nemegt Basin in the northwestern part of the Gobi Desert (in Mongolia), which is noted for its fossil treasures, including early mammals, dinosaur eggs, and prehistoric stone implements, some 100,000 years old.[citation needed] Climate Gobi by NASA World Wind Sand dunes in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China A summer monsoon produces a flash flood, 2005 Bactrian camels by the sand dunes of Khongoryn Els, Gurvansaikhan NP, Mongolia. The sand dunes of Khongoryn Els, Gurvansaikhan NP, MongoliaThe Gobi is a cold desert, with frost and occasionally snow occurring on its dunes. Besides being quite far north, it is also located on a plateau roughly 910–1,520 metres (2,990–4,990 ft) above sea level, which contributes to its low temperatures. An average of approximately 194 millimetres (7.6 in) of rain falls annually in the Gobi. Additional moisture reaches parts of the Gobi in winter as snow is blown by the wind from the Siberian Steppes. These winds cause the Gobi to reach extremes of temperature ranging from –40°C (–40°F) in winter to +50°C (122°F) in summer.[3] The climate of the Gobi is one of great extremes, combined with rapid changes of temperature of as much as 35 °C (63 °F). These can occur not only seasonally but within 24 hours. Temperature Sivantse (1190 m)Ulaanbaatar (1150 m)Annual mean−2.5 °C (27.5 °F)2.8 °C (37.0 °F)January mean−26.5 °C (−15.7 °F)−16.5 °C (2.3 °F)July mean17.5 °C (63.5 °F)19.0 °C (66.2 °F)Extremes−43 to 38 °C (−45 to 100 °F)−47 to 38.6 °C (−53 to 101 °F)In southern Mongolia, the temperature has been recorded as low as −32.8 °C (−27.0 °F). In contrast, in Alxa, Inner Mongolia, it rises as high as 37 °C (99 °F) in July. Average winter minimums are a frigid −40 °C (−40 °F) while summertime temperatures are warm to hot, with highs that range up to 50 °C (122 °F). Most of the precipitation falls during the summer. Although the southeast monsoons reach the southeast parts of the Gobi, the area throughout this region is generally characterized by extreme dryness, especially during the winter, when the Siberian anticyclone is at its strongest. Hence, the icy sandstorms and snowstorms of spring and early summer plus early January (winter) Conservation, ecology, and economy The Gobi Desert is the source of many important fossil finds, including the first dinosaur eggs. Despite the harsh conditions, these deserts and the surrounding regions sustain many animals, including black-tailed gazelles, marbled polecats, bactrian camels, Mongolian wild ass and sandplovers. They are occasionally visited by snow leopards, brown bears, and wolves. Drought-adapted shrubs in the desert included gray sparrow's saltwort, gray sagebrush, and low grasses such as needle grass and bridlegrass. Several large nature reserves have been established in the Gobi, including Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, Great Gobi A and Great Gobi B Strictly Protected Area. The area is vulnerable to trampling by livestock and off-road vehicles (effects from human intervention are greater in the eastern Gobi Desert, where rainfall is heavier and may sustain livestock). In Mongolia, grasslands have been degraded by goats, which are raised by nomadic herders as source of cashmere wool. The economic trends of livestock privatization and the collapse of the urban economy have caused people to return to subsistence rural lifestyles, away from urbanization. Large copper and gold deposits located at Oyuu Tolgoi, about 80 kilometers from the Chinese border into Mongolia, are being investigated for development as mining operations.[4] The Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold mine, under construction by Rio Tinto in the South Gobi Desert, is expected to begin operation in early 2013, and is the biggest economic undertaking in the country's history. Rio Tinto estimates that taxes, royalties and dividends generated by the Oyu Tolgoi project is expected to add a third to the country's gross domestic product by 2020. Rio Tinto forecasts average annual production of 450,000 tonnes of copper and 330,000 ounces of gold, and with 1.4 billion tonnes of reserves and a resource of 3.1 billion tonnes, the mine is expected to last for more than 50 years. [5] The mine has been and remains controversial. There is significant opposition in Mongolia's parliament to the terms under which the mine will proceed, and some are calling for the terms to be renegotiated. Specifically, the contention revolves primarily around the question of whether negotiations were fair (Rio Tinto is far better resourced) and whether Rio Tinto will pay adequate taxes on the revenues it derives from the mine (an agreement was reached whereby the operation will be exempt from windfall tax. [6] Desertification Currently, the Gobi desert is expanding at an alarming rate, in a process known as desertification. The expansion is particularly rapid on the southern edge into China, which has seen 3,600 km2 (1,390 sq mi) of grassland overtaken every year by the Gobi Desert. Dust storms, which used to occur regularly in China, have increased in frequency in the past 20 years, mainly due to desertification. They have caused further damage to China's agriculture economy. The expansion of the Gobi is attributed mostly to human activities, notably deforestation, overgrazing, and depletion of water resources. China has tried various plans to slow the expansion of the desert, which have met with some small degree of success, but no major effects. The most recent plan involves the planting of the Green Wall of China, a huge ring of newly planted forests; the government hopes the forests will help stabilize the soil, retain moisture, and act as a buffer against further desertification. Ecoregions of the Gobi The Gobi, broadly defined, can be divided into five distinct dry ecoregions. Eastern Gobi desert steppe, the easternmost of the Gobi ecoregions, covering an area of 281,800 km2 (108,804 sq mi). It extends from the Inner Mongolian Plateau in China northward into Mongolia. It includes the Yin Mountains and many low-lying areas with salt pans and small ponds. It is bounded by the Mongolian-Manchurian grassland to the north, the Yellow River Plain to the southeast, and the Alashan Plateau semi-desert to the southeast and east.Alashan Plateau semi-desert, lies west and southwest of the Eastern Gobi desert steppe. It consists of the desert basins and low mountains lying between the Gobi Altai range on the north, the Helan Mountains to the southeast, and the Qilian Mountains and northeastern portion of the Tibetan Plateau on the southwest.Gobi Lakes Valley desert steppe, ecoregion lies north of Alashan Plateau semi-desert, between the Gobi Altai range to the south and the Khangai Mountains to the north.Dzungarian Basin semi-desert, includes the desert basin lying between the Altai mountains on the north and the Tian Shan range on the south. It includes the northern portion of China's Xinjiang province and extends into the southeastern corner of Mongolia. The Alashan Plateau semi-desert lies to the east, and the Emin Valley steppe to the west, on the China-Kazakhstan border.Tian Shan range, separates the Dzungarian Basin semi-desert from the Taklamakan Desert, which is a low, sandy desert basin surrounded by the high mountain ranges of the Tibetan Plateau to the south and the Pamirs to the west. The Taklamakan Desert ecoregion includes the Desert of Lop.Eastern Gobi desert steppe A Khulan (Mongolian Wild Ass) on a hill in the eastern Gobi of Mongolia at sunset.The surface is extremely diversified, although there are no great differences in vertical elevation. Between Ulaanbaatar (48°00′N 107°00′E) and the small lake of Iren-dubasu-nor (43°45′N 111°50′E), the surface is greatly eroded. Broad flat depressions and basins are separated by groups of flat-topped mountains of relatively low elevation 150 to 180 m (490 to 590 ft)), through which archaic rocks crop out as crags and isolated rugged masses. The floors of the depressions lie mostly between 900 to 1,000 m (3,000 to 3,300 ft) above sea-level. Farther south, between Iren-dutiasu-nor and the Hwang-ho, comes a region of broad tablelands alternating with flat plains, the latter ranging at altitudes of 1000–1100 m and the former at 1,070 to 1,200 m (3,510 to 3,940 ft). The slopes of the plateaus are more or less steep, and are sometimes penetrated by "bays" of the lowlands. As the border-range of the Hyangan is approached, the country steadily rises up to 1,370 m (4,490 ft) and then to 1,630 m (5,350 ft). Here small lakes frequently fill the depressions, though the water in them is generally salt or brackish. Both here and for 320 km (199 mi) south of Ulaanbaatar, streams are frequent and grass grows more or less abundantly. Through all the central parts, until the bordering mountains are reached, trees and shrubs are utterly absent. Clay and sand are the predominant formations; the watercourses, especially in the north, being frequently excavated 2 to 3 m (6 ft 7 in to 9 ft 10 in) deep. In many places in the flat, dry valleys or depressions farther south, beds of loess, 5 to 6 m (16 to 20 ft) thick, are exposed. West of the route from Ulaanbaatar to Kalgan, the country presents approximately the same general features, except that the mountains are not so irregularly scattered in groups but have more strongly defined strikes, mostly east to west, west-north-west to east-south-east, and west-south-west to east-north-east. The altitudes are higher, those of the lowlands ranging from 1,000 to 1,700 m (3,300 to 5,600 ft), and those of the ranges from 200 to 500 m (660 to 1,640 ft) higher, though in a few cases they reach altitudes of 2,400 m (7,900 ft). The elevations do not form continuous chains, but make up a congeries of short ridges and groups rising from a common base and intersected by a labyrinth of ravines, gullies, glens and basins. But the tablelands, built up of the horizontal red deposits of the Han-gai (Obruchev's Gobi formation) which are characteristic of the southern parts of eastern Mongolia, are absent here or occur only in one locality, near the Shara-muren river. They are greatly intersected by gullies or dry watercourses. Water is scarce, with no streams, no lakes, no wells, and precipitation falls seldom. The prevailing winds blow from the west and northwest, and the pall of dust overhangs the country as in the Takla Makan and the desert of Lop. Characteristic of the flora are wild garlic, Kalidium gracile, wormwood, saxaul, Nitraria schoberi, Caragana, Ephedra, saltwort and the grass Lasiagrostis splendens. The taana wild onion Allium polyrrhizum is the main browse eaten by many herd animals, and Mongolians claim that this is essential to produce the correct, slightly hazelnut-like flavour of camel airag (fermented milk). This great desert country of Gobi is crossed by several trade routes, some of which have been in use for thousands of years. Among the most important are those from Kalgan (at the Great Wall) to Ulaanbaatar (960 km (597 mi)); from Jiuquan (in Gansu) to Hami 670 km (416 mi); from Hami to Beijing (2,000 km (1,243 mi)); from Hohhot to Hami and Barkul; and from Lanzhou (in Gansu) to Hami. Alashan Plateau semi-desert The southwestern portion of the Gobi, known also as the Hsi-tau and the Little Gobi, fills the space between the great north loop of the Yellow River on the east, the Ejin River on the west, and the Qilian Mountains and narrow rocky chain of Longshou, 3,200 to 3,500 m (10,500 to 11,500 ft) in altitude, on the southwest. The Ordos Desert, which covers the northeastern portion of the Ordos Plateau, in the great north loop of the Huang He, is part of this ecoregion. It belongs to the middle basin of the three great depressions into which Potanin divides the Gobi as a whole. "Topographically," says Nikolai Przhevalsky, "it is a perfectly level plain, which in all probability once formed the bed of a huge lake or inland sea." He concludes this based on the level area of the region as a whole, the hard saldgine clay and the sand-strewn surface and, lastly, the salt lakes which occupy its lowest parts. For hundreds of kilometers, nothing can be seen but bare sands; in some places they continue so far without a break that the Mongols call them Tengger (i.e. sky). These vast expanses are absolutely waterless, nor do any oases relieve the unbroken stretches of yellow sand, which alternate with equally vast areas of saline clay or, nearer the foot of the mountains, with barren shingle. Although on the whole a level country with a general altitude of 1,000 to 1,500 m (3,300 to 4,900 ft), this section, like most other parts of the Gobi, is crowned by a chequered network of hills and broken ranges going up 300 m higher. The vegetation is confined to a few varieties of bushes and a dozen kinds of grasses and herbs, the most conspicuous being saxaul (Haloxylon ammondendron) and Agriophyllum gobicum. The others include prickly convolvulus, field wormwood (Artemisia campestris), acacia, Inula ammophila, Sophora flavescens, Convolvulus ammanii, Peganum and Astragalus, but all dwarfed, deformed and starved. The fauna consists of little but antelope, wolf, fox, hare, hedgehog, marten, numerous lizards and a few birds, e.g. the sandgrouse, lark, stonechat, sparrow, crane, Henderson's Ground Jay (Podoces hendersoni), Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris), and Crested Lark (Galerida cristata). Dzungarian Basin semi-desert The structure here is that of the mighty T'ien Shan, or Heavenly Mountains, running from west to east. It divides the northern one-third of Sinkiang from the southern two-thirds. On the northern side, rivers formed from the snow and glaciers of the high mountains break through barren foothill ranges and flow out into an immense, hollow plain. Here the rivers begin to straggle and fan out, and form great marshes with dense reed-beds. Westerners call this terrain the Dzungarian desert. The Chinese also call it a desert, but the Mongols call it a 'gobi'—that is, a land of thin herbage, more suitable for camels than for cows, but capable also, if herds are kept small and moved frequently, of sustaining horses, sheep, and goats. The herbage comprises a high proportion of woody, fragrant plants. Gobi mutton is the most aromatic in the world.[7] The Yulduz valley or valley of the Haidag-gol (43°N 83°E–43°N 86°E) is a mini desert enclosed by two prominent members of the Shanashen Trahen Osh mountain range, namely the chucis and the kracenard pine rallies, running perpendicular and far from one another. As they proceed south, they transcend and transpose, sweeping back on east and west respectively, with Lake Bosten in between. These two ranges mark the northern and the southern edges respectively of a great swelling, which extends eastward for nearly twenty degrees of longitude. On its northern side, the Chol-tagh descends steeply, and its foot is fringed by a string of deep depressions, ranging from Lukchun (130 m (427 ft) below sea level) to Hami (850 m (2,789 ft) above sea-level). To the south of the Kuruk-tagh lie the desert of Lop Nur, the Kum-tagh desert, and the valley of the Bulunzir-gol. To this great swelling, which arches up between the two border-ranges of the Chol-tagh and Kuruk-tagh, the Mongols give the name of Ghashuun-Gobi or "Salt Desert". It is some 130 to 160 km (81 to 99 mi) across from north to south, and is traversed by a number of minor parallel ranges, ridges and chains of hills. Down its middle runs a broad stony valley, 40 to 80 km (25 to 50 mi) wide, at an elevation of 900 to 1,370 m (2,950 to 4,490 ft). The Chol-tagh, which reaches an average altitude of 1,800 m (5,900 ft), is absolutely sterile, and its northern foot rests upon a narrow belt of barren sand, which leads down to the depressions mentioned above. The Kuruk-tagh is the greatly disintegrated, denuded and wasted relic of a mountain range which formerly was of incomparably greater magnitude. In the west, between Lake Bosten and the Tarim, it consists of two, possibly of three, principal ranges, which, although broken in continuity, run generally parallel to one another, and embrace between them numerous minor chains of heights. These minor ranges, together with the principal ranges, divide the region into a series of long; narrow valleys, mostly parallel to one another and to the enclosing mountain chains, which descend like terraced steps, on the one side towards the depression of Lukchun and on the other towards the desert of Lop. In many cases these latitudinal valleys are barred transversely by ridges or spurs, generally elevations en masse of the bottom of the valley. Where such elevations exist, there is generally found, on the east side of the transverse ridge, a cauldron-shaped depression, which some time or other has been the bottom of a former lake, but is now nearly a dry salt-basin. The surface configuration is in fact markedly similar to that which occurs in the inter-mount latitudinal valleys of the Kunlun Mountains. The hydrography of the Ghashiun-Gobi and the Kuruk-tagh is determined by these chequered arrangements of the latitudinal valleys. Most of the principal streams, instead of flowing straight down these valleys, cross them diagonally and only turn west after they have cut their way through one or more of the transverse barrier ranges. To the highest range on the great swelling Grumm-Grzhimailo gives the name of Tuge-tau, its altitude being 2,700 m (8,858 ft) above the level of the sea and some 1,200 m (3,937 ft) above the crown of the swelling itself. This range he considers to belong to the Choltagh system, whereas Sven Hedin would assign it to the Kuruk-tagh. This last, which is pretty certainly identical with the range of Kharateken-ula (also known as the Kyzyl-sanghir, Sinir, and Singher Mountains), that overlooks the southern shore of the Lake Bosten, though parted from it by the drift-sand desert of Ak-bel-kum (White Pass Sands), has at first a west-northwest to east-southeast strike, but it gradually curves round like a scimitar towards the east-northeast and at the same time gradually decreases in elevation. In 91° east, while the principal range of the Kuruk-tagh system wheels to the east-northeast, four of its subsidiary ranges terminate, or rather die away somewhat suddenly, on the brink of a long narrow depression (in which Sven Hedin sees a northeast bay of the former great Central Asian lake of Lop-nor), having over against them the écheloned terminals of similar subordinate ranges of the Pe-shan (Boy-san) system (see below). The Kuruk-tagh is throughout a relatively low, but almost completely barren range, being entirely destitute of animal life, save for hares, antelopes and wild camels, which frequent its few small, widely scattered oases. The vegetation, which is confined to these same relatively favoured spots, is of the scantiest and is mainly confined to bushes of saxaul (Haloxylon), anabasis, reeds (kamish), tamarisks, poplars, and Ephedra Condition: New

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