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Yellow River Source Lakes

The Yellow River Source Lakes are located in Qinghai Province, in part of a National Park called the Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve, which incorporates the source regions of the Yellow River, the Yangtze River and the Mekong River, three of the most important rivers in Eurasia. A view of the source lakes can be seen in Fig. 1. 

YR Sourcelake

Fig. 1. The Yellow River Source Lakes

The Yellow River is thought to be delivering sediment to the loess plateau based on zircon U-Pb data and heavy mineral analysis (Stevens et al. 2013). However, this hypothesis is based on one Yellow River sample from near Lanzhou in the Gansu Province. Thus it is important to sample higher up the rivers course so see if this signal is seen as far up as the Yellow River Source Lakes. The area that was selected for sampling was in Madoi which is a county of Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. It has an average elevation of 4300m and is the highest county in China. A view of Madoi towns main street is shown in Fig. 2. 

Madoi scene

Fig. 2. Madoi town main street. 


Stevens, T., Carter, A., Watson, T.P., Vermeesch, P., Ando, S., Bird, A.F., Lu, H., Garzanti, E., Cottam, M. & Sevastjanova, I. 2013. Genetic linkage between the yellow River, the Mu Us desert and the Chinese Loess Plateau. Quaternary Science Reviews. 

YR Sourcelakes2

View from 4610m above sea level of the Yellow River Source Lakes 


Wild life near the source lakes. 


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