My mind is so blown by it recently: The Taklamakan Desert in Xinjiang, China.
"It has an area of 337,000 km2. (130,116 sq. mi.), and includes the Tarim Basin, which is 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) long and 400 kilometres (250 mi) wide. It is crossed at its northern and at its southern edge by two branches of the Silk Road as travelers sought to avoid the arid wasteland. It is the world's second largest shifting sand desert with about 85% made up of shifting sand dunes ranking 18th in size in a ranking of the world's largest non-polar deserts."
So what I want to make you realize is, how huge it is. I made some screenshots on Google Maps and zoomed out. First off I'm showing you how huge one of those big dunes is (think about it, 200 meters!).
Now look at the screenshots...
Kara Buran, the "black sand storm." He can raise a ton of sand and persist for days or even weeks. It got its name because it often darkens the sky. The time of the Kara Buran is from February to June, and the sand storm is coming every three to five days, especially from the Northeast. The dust clouds created by it can last a week and significantly reduce the solar radiation. Since he already devoured many caravans and probably even entire cities, he is associated with many myths.
A team of Chinese and American researchers working in Sweden tested DNA from 52 separate mummies, including the mummy denoted "Beauty of Loulan." The features of the Loulan Beauty have been described as Nordic in appearance. She was approximately 45 years old when she died. By genetically mapping the mummies' origins, the researchers confirmed the theory that these mummies were of West Eurasian descent.
- Many of them had red hair and european facial features. It’s not impossible that they brought copper working to China, although that is up for debate. Their texiles have a celtic tartan look to them. -
Victor Mair, a University of Pennsylvania professor and project leader for the team that did the genetic mapping, commented that these studies were:
"...extremely important because they link up eastern and western Eurasia at a formative stage of civilization (Bronze Age and early Iron Age) in a much closer way than has ever been done before."
Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.