The Badain Jaran Desert spans the Gansu, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia provinces. It is home to 'mega dunes' which are sand dunes up to 500 m in height, the tallest stationary dunes in the world! It also has over 100 lakes between the dunes which are fed by springs. The springs are also thought to be the reason that the dunes are kept in place allowing them to grow to such large height. A mega dune is shown in Fig. 1.
Fig. 1 - mega dunes at Alxa Desert Globa Geopark.
Fig. 2 shows a barchan dune which is also found in the Badain Jaram. The climate in the Badain Jaram is arid with average rainfall between 50-60 mm per year and the average temperature ~7 degrees C.
Fig. 2 - barchan dune from south west Badain Jaram.
Bulk rock Nd and Sr isotopic compositions of the Badain Jaram desert has been analysed along with many other deserts and the data from this area and the Tengger and Qaidam deserts matches data from last glacial loess from the Chinese Loess Plateau. One interpretation of this suggests that these deserts are the main source regions of the last glacial loess. (Chen et al. 2007).
Chen, J., Li, G., Yang, J., Rao, W., Lu, H., Balsam, W., Sun, Y. & Ji, J. 2007. Nd and Sr isotopic characteristics of Chinese deserts: Implications for the provenance of Asian dust. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 71, 3904-3914.
Mega dunes at Geopark near Alxa Youqi.