Chaka Salt Lake, Qarhan Salt Lake,Haixi Situated in Chaka Town, Ulan County, Haixi in China’s western Qinghai Province, the Chaka Salt Lake is in the western part of the Chaka Basin, 298 kilometers from Xining, capital of Qinghai. This natural crystallized saline lake is regarded as the eastern gateway to Qaidam Basin, which reserves the largest salt mine in the world. Lying at an altitude of 3059 meters, the lake is oval shape and covers an area of 40 square miles (105 square kilometers), ten times larger than the West Lake of Hangzhou. However, it is the smallest among the several salt lakes in Qaidam area, but different from others for its coexistence of both solid and liquid salt. The snow-white lake bed and the crystal blue water against the azure sky win it the reputation of ‘Mirror of the Sky’. Travel to such a beautiful world of salt embedded in the snowy mountains and verdant meadows, tourists would inevitably feel like they are in a fairyland.
Salt Sculptures There are halite layers at the bottom of the lake and which reaches 16 yards (15 meters) at the thickest point and averages 5.5 yards (5 meters). Brines extracted will recrystallize into halite layers a few years later and with its large supply from the lake, it is really inexhaustible! The grains of salt are of superior quality that they are edible once processed.
There are many giant sculptures scattered along the lakeside upon entering the scenic area. These are formed from the deposit of salts and brine over a long period of time and they are fondly called the luxurious art of the land. Tourists may swim or just lie on the lake without life buoy or life jacket. Substantial salt and mineral substances accumulated in the lake over a long period, making the buoyancy force eight times higher than seawater and nearly the same as that of the Dead Sea.
The lake is rich in magnesium chloride, muriate, sodium chloride and other types of mineral salts. It is also a mining industry base and its total reserve can reach about 2 billion tons.The legend.Qarhan Salt Lake is surrounded by a fascinated legend. Long ago, Qarhan had various treasures. However, the ghosts and mountain deities were greedy. They fought often with one another with hopes of snatching the treasures. Serious disasters were caused due to the battles. The West’s Queen Mother lived in the Kunlun Mountain and knew of these battles. She decided to solve the problem once. The Water Deity was asked to drop water over the area and submerge this treasure so nobody could get it. This created the Qarhan Salt Lake. Scientifically, the Qarhan Salt Lake had been formed due to the movement in the crust of the earth.
No green plants can survive in the area of Qarhan Salt Lake. However, the area does breed magic salt pinches which are known to be as translucent and beautiful as jade. The salt pinches are actually beautiful crystals forming due to the crystallization of salt in the Qarhan Salt Lake. Because the brine content, time range and thickness is different, the lake has salt crystals of a huge range of shapes and sizes. These salt crystals can be found towering over the lake, making it a natural wonder. The zhang salt bridge is a natural bridge which is 32 km long, 18 m thick and is often known as the ten thousands salt bridge. The surface of the bridge is flat and very smooth. The mountain and the lake reflect one another, creating a unique scenery. The salt bridge is like a jade belt without any guardrails. There is a stream under it and it divides the Qarhan Salt Lake surprisingly at the center in two parts.
Xining Travel Guide