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Located in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China, the Taklimakan Desert is also recognized as the second largest shifting-sand desert in the world, next to Sahara Desert in Africa. (Photo : http://www.exploreancientchina.weebly.com)
China’s Largest Desert Formed Much Earlier than Believed, Study Reveals
A study led by Chinese researchers has indicated that the Taklimakan Desert, China’s largest sand sea may have been formed about 25 million years ago, much earlier than previously believed, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Located in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China, the Taklimakan Desert is also recognized as the second largest shifting-sand desert in the world, next to Sahara Desert in Africa.
Zheng Hongbo, the lead author of the study and professor at the School of Geography Science of Nanjing Normal University, said that Taklimakan’s age remain a controversial issue in which majority of people hold its age as between 3.4 million years old to 7 million years old.
Zheng and his colleagues said in the new study that volcanic ash from two sedimentary sections along the southwestern margin of the Tarim Basin, has preserved the evidence of desertification, showing the region’s geological past.
Zheng said that minerals such as sanidine, aegirineaugite, and biotite present in the volcanic ash are ideal indicators for an accurate geological dating.
Combining field investigations and petrologic studies, the researcher’s work showed that the Taklimakan Desert likely came into existence 25 million years ago.
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