The oases along the Keriya River in the Taklamakan Desert, China, and their evolution since the end of the last glaciation
- Cite this article as:
- Yang, X. Env Geol (2001) 41: 314. doi:10.1007/s002540100388
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The area of the Keriya River is an important laboratory for studying the formation and evolution of artificial and natural oases. The plant communities vary in an orderly way from Phragmites, to Populus, to Tamarix in a landscape profile crossing a riverbed in the center of the Taklamakan Desert. The green oasis belt along the river course and the oases in the former delta areas have been plagued by desertification for about 400 years, especially since the beginning of 1950s, while irrigation has continuously increased in the middle reaches of the river. The recent deterioration of the natural oases along the Keriya River is likely caused mainly by human activities rather than a deduced aridification of climate. On the basis of stratigraphy of river terraces and paraglacial fans, and on microstructures on the quartz grains, it is hereby concluded that the Keriya River in the Tarim Basin was able to flow through the Taklamakan Desert and to have formed a green oasis corridor extending through the desert during deglaciation.