The Taklimakan Desert located in northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the second largest desert on the globe, could have been came into being some 4.5 million years ago, according to recent research.
The research was conducted jointly by Prof. Zheng Hongbo from the Shanghai-based Tongji University, and noted scientists Chen Huizhong and Cao Junji from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).A paper on the research was published in the CAS magazine, the Chinese Science Bulletin.
Researchers studied sediments from the southern tip of the Tarim Basin and detected loess from the Taklimakan Desert, which is in the heart of Tarim Basin and occupies an area of 337,600 sq km.
There has been no universally-accepted theory about the formation of the Taklimakan Desert and specific details are still beyond reach, according to experts.
Researchers have collected thousands of rock samples in Yecheng county in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and tested them to ascertain the direction of the Earth's magnetic field when the rocks were formed, according to Prof. Zheng Hongbo.
Since sand and dust were blown and shifted to regions on the fringe of the Taklimakan Desert and remained there for ages, information pertaining to the rock formation has helped scientists to conclude that the Taklimakan Desert might have been shaped some 4.5 million years ago.
(Xinhua News Agency August 6, 2002)