Reference work entry
This is a desert area with abundant vegetation in a dry region (including deserts). Oases always have an elongated form and are located in the middle and lower parts of piedmont alluvial fans, where the groundwater is shallow, as well as along river banks. China’s oases are mainly located along the piedmonts on the northern and southern slopes of Tianshan, the northern slope of Kunlunshan (Kunlun Mountains), the northern slope of Qilianshan (Qilian Mountains) and along the rivers and the alluvial fans downstream of the Yerqiang River, Hetian River, Tarim River and Urumqi River. These oases are all supplied by water that melts from ice and snow in the surrounding mountains. The oases in front of these piedmonts extend over great distances and are favourable sites for agricultural development with irrigation. They are paradises of flora and fauna in arid areas. Towns and villages in oases are located near each other, and they become areas of economic development in arid regions (Fig. 1).
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