Deep in the Tengeger desert, lies a “beating heart of the Earth.” Why do people say that? What is the truth about this heart?
Deep in the Tengger desert, there is a hidden “Heart of the Earth”. (Photo: Baidu)
Tengger is a desert located at the southern end of the Gobi desert. The Tengger Desert is the fourth largest desert in China with an area of 42,700 square kilometers. Sand dunes, mountains, lakes and plains are intertwined in this desert. In which, sand dunes account for 71% of the area, mainly mobile sand dunes, with an altitude of around 10-20 m.
The sand dunes here are usually crescent-shaped, one after the other. The sand is very fine and has a nice golden color. The Tengger Desert has long been a popular tourist destination. Not only for its beautiful terrain, the Tengeger desert is also known as the place where people find the “heart of the Earth”. That is O Lan Lake. But why is it called that?
In Mongolian, “Wulan” means red. O Lan Lake exudes an irresistible charm thanks to the special color of the lake water. The water of O Lan Lake is bright red mixed with white. This point inadvertently makes the surface of the lake look like blood vessels. With that color of the lake water, along with a heart-like shape, O Lan Lake is known as “the heart of the Earth”.
From July to September is the time when O Lan Lake has the most beautiful color. (Photo: Baidu)
According to scientists, the reason why O Lan Lake has such a special red color is due to 3 reasons: One is low ground. In the desert environment, low and closed terrain is very conducive to the accumulation of surface and groundwater. Because the Tengger Desert has low ground, there are so many lakes.
The second is due to the arid climate. Low rainfall and high evaporation are important factors in the formation of salty lakes similar to O Lan Lake.
The third is due to 3 types of microorganisms present in the lake water. They are Artemia, Dunaliella salina and halophilic bacteria, their active principles such as astaxanthin, carotenoids, etc. They have “dyed” the lake water that red. Also, Olan Lake has a high concentration of salts and metals. The salt forms long white stripes that run across the lake.
O Lan Lake has a very special bright red color. (Photo: Baidu)
The color of the water in O Lan Lake often changes with the seasons. In summer, when it rains more in the desert, the water level is higher, so the lake water will turn pink. When it comes to autumn, the amount of rain is less and the water level in the lake decreases, making the lake water even redder.
According to the locals, the lake of O Lan is more than 2 meters deep. The most suitable time to visit the lake is from July to September. At this time, the weather is sunny, around the lake there are green mountains, the grass is spreading, in the sun, the color of the lake. Or Lan will be brighter.
Due to climatic conditions, the Tengger Desert has more than 400 large and small lakes. Despite the large number of lakes, salty lakes similar to O Lan Lake are really rare. And indeed, O Lan Lake is a collection of 1 large lake and a few scattered small lakes.
O Lan Lake is an inland saltwater lake with a history of up to 100 years. It began to gradually dry up in 1995. Before drying up, it covered an area of 175 square kilometers and was the 12th largest lake in Mongolia.
O Lan Lake is now famous and attracts more people because of its special appearance. (Photo: Baidu)
With its rare beauty, O Lan Lake is currently a scenic attraction that attracts many tourists to visit. However, scientists recommend that visitors do not bathe in O Lan Lake because the alkalinity of the water here is too high.