Chinese scientists have discovered a massive hidden ocean just below the Tarim basin in northwestern Xinjiang China. It hardly rains in Tarim basin, and it is one of the driest places on earth. The saltwater hidden below could be equal to the water in all the five great lakes in the US.
Xinjiang is mesmerizing and is one of the driest and uninhabitable places on earth. The Taklamakan which means the place one does not leave once entering is a desert that dominates the region and is surrounded by mountains that included the Pamirs and the Himalayas. Xinjiang also has within it the place on earth which is farthest from the sea and goes by the name Dzoosotoyn Elisen Desert. Tarim Basin dominates most of Xinjiang.
‘Terrifying amount of water’, that is how the find has been described by Professor Li Yan, who headed the study at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography in Urumqi, the Xinjiang capital. Li added that the definition of a desert will change since there is so much water below.
Tarim Basin is unique in the sense that it is the largest land-locked basin in the world and also has the in its center, the Takla Makan Desert, China’s biggest desert.
The discovery was made accidentally by Li’s team who were looking for Carbon sinks. Carbon Sinks are certain regions on Earth where Carbon dioxide can be absorbed. Li’s team had discovered that carbon dioxide was getting absorbed into the basin but could not understand how.
Li and his team have collected underground water samples from 200 locations in the desert and by comparing the carbon dioxide concentration in the samples with the amount of carbon dioxide in the melt water thus calculating the amount of water which has flown into the basin.
Li said that it was possible that other large deserts could have similar “oceans” hidden beneath just like the Tarim Basin.