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Travel, Teach, Live in China

Ordos Desert, Inner Mongolia

The Ordos Desert is one of the largest deserts in China. It is actually made up of two deserts: the Kubuqi Desert and the Maowusu Desert.

The Ordos Desert is located on a plateau that lies in the southern region of Inner Mongolia. It is bordered by the Yellow River, the Sheitenula, Karanarynula and Yin mountain ranges and the Great Wall of China.

The Ordos Desert is both a desert and steppe. It is also a mix of clay and sand, making it unsuitable for agriculture, though some farming is done in the oases. In addition, soda deposits are mined throughout the desert.

The Ordos Desert was previously known as He-tau and He-nan, which means "the country south of the river." While it was populated by nomadic tribes until the late 19th century, the Ordos Desert has remained largely unpopulated. Furthermore, it was the destructive consequences of Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward that resulted in the combining of the Kubuqi and Maowusu Deserts; the vegetation that separated the two deserts was destroyed during this period.

The region receives little rainfall. What rainfall does occur is usually in the form of thunderstorms. During the winter, temperatures tend to range from 9 to 14 degrees F.

Although the vegetation separating the Kubuqi and Maowusu Deserts has been destroyed, there is some remaining vegetation throughout the Ordos Desert. Grasslands and shrublands constitute the majority of the vegetation, though wild flowers can be found sprinkled throughout the region.

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