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Chaka Salt Lake

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Chaka Salt Lake is natural crystallized saline lake in the Qaidam Basin, it was called “The Mirror of the sky”, because anyone who looks at the lake has a feeling that the sky and the earth has become one thing. Unusual game of light and specificity of climate and landscape creates this image. Also, Chaka Salt Lake was called as one of the 55 must-go places in life by National Geographic Magazine. In Tibetan language, Chaka means “a salt pond” and “green salt sea”. It is located near the Chaka Town, Ulan County, Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai province, China. Lying at an altitude of 3,059 meters, Chaka lake is oval shape and covers an area of 105 square meters. During the dry season, lake becomes much smaller in size, only during the rainy season, the lake extends to its full size. The climate around the lake is dry and cool. In fact, Chaka Salt Lake is not quite a lake, because bottom and middle layers are covered with a thick crust of the salt. Chaka Lake is also incredibly shallow. There are halite layers at the bottom of the lake, which reaches 15 meters at the thickest point and averages 5 meters. This lake is rich in salt with a heavy salt layer close to the surface. Chaka Salt Lake is a brine lake which is coexistence of solid and liquid salt. The storage of salt reaches about 5 million tons and as they say it will last for 85 years for the whole China. Also, Chaka Salt Lake is extremely important site of the ancient Silk Road. Chaka Salt Lake has the longest history of exploitation among all the salt lakes in the Qaidam Basin (the largest salt mine in the world) over 3,000 years. Mining in Chaka is not that difficult as natural salts can be obtained by lifting salt cover. During Qianlong period, in 1763, a law was written by the local government in order to exploit the lake`s natural resources, it was known as the “Salt Law”.

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