China oasis defies desert to lure tourists

15th May 2013

An ancient oasis in danger of being gobbled up by the desert is today a thriving tourist attraction.

This is thanks to the intervention of China government officials.

The lake, thought to be 2,000 years old, was shrinking fast due to increasing desertification before the government started to refill it.

Now holidaymakers on city breaks can venture 6km (3.72 miles) south of north-west China's Dunhuang to marvel at the modern miracle of the Crescent Lake.

It is a fresh water spring in the shape of a half moon, 218m in length and 54m wide.

Next to the lake is a traditional pagoda and a souvenir stall-lined street popular with tourists on family holidays who enjoy camel rides to the peaks of the surrounding dunes.

The lake's average depth plummeted from 5m in 1960, to less than a metre in the early 1990s as the underground water table declined dramatically.

Its depth increased as the local government began refilling it seven years ago, Niceartlife.com reports.

The lake's incredible survival in the middle of the desert is being attributed to its low altitude, while its position is also believed to stop excess sand from the adjacent dunes falling into it.

Dwarfed by tall mountains, Dunhuang has an arid climate - and is very hot in the summer and cold in winter.

Its desert landscape thrives with tiny rainfall amounts which swiftly evaporate.


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