Yadan Spectacle

Yadan Spectacle, Lop Nur, Ruoqiang County, Bayingolin
Yadan Spectacle, Lop Nur, 
Ruoqiang County, Bayingolin
'Yadan' means 'steep mound' in Uygur and is now widely used by geologists and archeologists to refer to certain geomorphic features in arid regions. The formation of Yadan features requires two elements; firstly, the earth structure must be loose, and secondly, there must be a strong wind. In extremely dry areas, especially deserts, it seldom rains, but when rain falls it will often be torrential, bringing about flash floods. The loose earth is eroded away year after year by rain, wind and flood. The landscape is reshaped into various mounds. This is what scientists call a Yadan landscape.

Yadan Spectacle is situated in the north of Ruoqiang County, Bayingolin Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in the Lop Nur Area. Lop Nur Area is the second largest Yadan area after the Qaidam Basin. The cluster of eroded mounds are scattered mainly in the north, west and east sides of the Lop Nur Area.

Yadan Spectacle, Lop Nur, Ruoqiang County, Bayingolin The east side of the Lop Nur Area has typical Yadan features; usually a mound is about 10-20 meters (around 33-66 feet) high with an average length of over 200 meters (over 656 feet). Most mounds are covered with a thick crust of salt and in the sunshine these mounds shine like silver. Looking from afar, they appear to be just like white dragons lying in the desert. Local people call this area 'White Dragon Mounds'. 'White Dragon Mounds' provided a natural defense for the Ancient City of Loulan, and is an area one must pass through en-route to Loulan.

The Yadan area to the northern side of the Lop Nur Area is named 'Dragon City'. These mounds vary in height, length, width and shapes. They are in the shape of houses, pavilions, towers, castles, cars, boats, animals and human beings, etc. People say that it is one hundred percent a mound city. More amazingly, one can hear the noise of the 'city'. There are dogs barking, birds singing, cars hooting, bells ringing, children playing and crying, and traders and buyers bargaining. All these effects are the results of the wind roaring against the mounds.

Yadan Spectacle, Lop Nur, Ruoqiang County, Bayingolin Yadan Spectacle, Lop Nur, Ruoqiang County, Bayingolin
In addition, there are other Yadan areas, such as Loulan and Sanlongsha, either area having different features.

Yadan Spectacle is situated in the desert area, so the climate is not so pleasant. Before visiting it, one must make necessary preparations, for example, one must take enough food, water, clothes, an umbrella to protect against either the dazing sunshine or a rain, and if possible a pair of sunglasses.

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