That is the Chaerhan salt lake, Qaidam basin on the Qinghai plateau, Tibet, China. Chaerhan is known as the largest salt lake in China. With reserves of more than 60 billion tons of salt, Chaerhan is also the second largest salt lake in the world.
According to calculations by scientists, the salt reserves of Lake Chaerhan can provide 6 billion people within 1,000 years or build a bridge between the Earth and the Moon.
The Chaerhan Salt Lake has reserves that can feed 6 billion people for 1,000 years. (Photo: Baidu)
The salt lake is worth 12 trillion yuan
In Mongolian, Chaerhan means “salt swamp”. This salt lake is located in the southern part of the Qaidam Basin, across the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Lake Chaerhan is located at an altitude of 2,670m with a length of up to 160 km, a width of 40 km and an area of about 5,800 km2.
Chaerhan salt lake is located deep in the desert, so the weather here is very dry and hot. With less rainfall than the amount of water evaporated, the salt in the lake gradually crystallized. On the lake surface, salt crystallizes into a mantle up to 1 to 4m high. This salt crust is exceptionally hard and has a very large load capacity. It can withstand cars or trains running above, even planes can be parked on top.
The crystalline salt on Lake Chaerhan can withstand the loads of cars, trains and planes. (Photo: Baidu)
Salt also forms a road up to 32 km long. This salt road has been used as a section of the Qinghai-Tibet railway through the Qaidam basin. The interesting point of this salt road is that if it is unfortunately damaged, people just need to use the salt water of the lake to pour it on that place and wait for the salt to concentrate again.
According to ancient legend, Chaerhan salt lake was formed a long time ago. Chaerhan was actually a treasure trove before it was a salt lake. This place has a lot of precious gold and silver jewelry. In order to compete for the treasure, the demons in this area fought year after year, leaving the people in dire straits.
Chaerhan salt lake has a history of formation hundreds of millions of years ago. (Photo: Baidu)
At this time, Western Queen Mother decided to take action to suppress. She ordered the water god to pour the water of the Tianhe River down and drown all of Chaerhan’s treasure to prevent the demons from getting it. Until now, these treasures are still sinking at the bottom of the lake. The implication of this story is to imply that Chaerhan is a land of boundless value.
In fact, this legend is not without foundation. According to the analysis of scientists, Lake Chaerhan formed hundreds of millions of years ago. It used to be an ocean. Due to the change of the Earth’s crust, sea and land in Qinghai, Tibet has turned Qaidam into a basin.
Since then, more than 100 large and small lakes have been formed here. In which, Chaerhan salt lake is the largest and has the largest salt reserves. After analysis, the scientists determined that the salt lake was rich in potassium, magnesium, lithium and other metals. In particular, potassium in the Chaerhan salt lake is an extremely important resource. Because potassium is also the main source of raw materials for the production of fertilizers for the agricultural industry.
The discovery of large reserves of potassium in the Chaerhan salt lake has helped China to obtain resources instead of having to import from other countries. Since the establishment of a potash fertilizer factory next to Chaerhan Lake in 1964, up to now, the potassium reserves in the Chaerhan salt lake still account for 96% of China’s total potash reserves each year.
According to estimates of experts, if the salt mines in Chaerhan are fully utilized, the economic value will reach 12 trillion yuan. Therefore, the Chinese government sent the police here to monitor the exploitation of resources in Lake Chaerhan 24/7.
The salt of Lake Chaerhan has crystallized into many unique shapes. (Photo: Baidu)
At Chaerhan salt lake, scientists also found many unique salts. Including pearl salt and glass salt. Pearl salt is a type of salt that is as white as snow and smooth as pearls. Glass salts have many different colors such as yellow, blue, pink, orange… These salts have a square shape when crystallized. They form many different shapes such as flowers, constellations, rocks, corals.
Besides, the land around Chaerhan salt lake is very flat. When the weather is hot, the lake surface will emit silver rays due to the rising heat. At this time, the lake seems to become a giant mirror. This strange landscape has turned the Chaerhan Salt Lake into one of China’s most popular tourist attractions.