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Lop Nor,Xinjiang, China: see Lop NurLop Nur
, salt basin, SE Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China, in the Tarim River basin. Since 1964, Lop Nur has been used by the China for its nuclear test explosions.
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a lake without an outlet in western China, in the eastern part of the Tarim Basin. It lies at an elevation of about 780 m.
The location dimensions, outline, and degree of salinity of Lop Nor change sharply, owing primarily to changes in discharges and shifts in the channels of the lower courses of the Tarim and Konche Darya rivers that feed Lop Nor. In the ninth and tenth centuries the area of the lake reached 14,000 sq km. The growth of irrigated lands in the Tarim Basin has caused a decrease in the river’s flow. The maximum area of modern Lop Nor is more than 3,000 sq km; the length is more than 100 km; and the average depth is about 1 m. Lop Nor is ringed by swampy salt bottoms and marshes; in low-water periods it breaks up into several separate stretches of water or dries up and becomes covered with a layer of salt. The lake is icebound from November to March, and most of it freezes down to the bottom. In certain years the channel of the Tarim River shifts so that the Tarim does not reach Lop Nor but turns south and, joining the Cherchen River, fills Lake Kara Kashum (“Przheval’skii’s Lop Nor,” 100–150 km southwest of modern Lop Nor), which is covered with vast numbers of reeds. Kara Kashum was first studied by the Russian traveler N. M. Przheval’skii in 1876 when the water level was high. Study of Lop Nor helped resolve the puzzle of the wandering of the rivers and lakes of Central Asia.
REFERENCESMurzaev, E. M. Priroda Sin’tsziana i formirovanie pustyn’ Tsentral’noi Azii. Moscow, 1966.
Kuznetsov, N. T. Vody Tsentral’noi Azii. Moscow, 1968.