Discovered by the scientists of China and the United States in the year 1999 for the first time, Purugangri Glacier is recognized as the world’s third grandest glacier, ranking only second to Antarctic and Arctic glacier. It’s also the world’s grandest glacier of middle and lower latitudes.
Purugangri Glacier is located 90 kilometers from the northeast of Shuanghu Special District in the northwest of Qiangtang in Tibet, which is 560 kilometers from Naqu town. Belonging to the core area of the national-level Qiangtang protection zone, Purugangri Glacier ranks as one of the famous scenic spots of Tibet. Purugangri Glacier covers an area of 422 square kilometers with relatively flat surface.
It emits towards the surrounding valleys and spills more than 50 glacier tongues of various lengths, with the highest altitude of 6,400 meters and the lowest altitude of 5,350 meters. The ice temperature is about -10℃ under the measurement of drilling and radar surveying. At the bottom of the ice layer, the ice temperature ranges from -5℃ to -3℃. At the altitude of 6,000 meters, the extreme lowest temperature reached -60℃ in the year 2000 and 2001.
The landscape features glacier, lakes and desert. Around the glacier, there is a large quantity of lakes which depend on the supply of glacial melt water. The largest lake is named Dong Lake located in the west of the glacier. Due to the influence of the climate, the glacial melt water increases recently, which form a variety of seracs in different shapes, presenting a splendid sight.
Between the lakes and the glaciers, there is a large area of desert, and you can see continuous crescent dunes near the glaciers. In the east of the glaciers, the desert covers an area of over 500 square kilometers. The local desert is the first Aeolian landform at the leading edge of glaciers of the same latitude that has been discovered.
The glacier area gives the first place to sub-glacial abrasion movement, and this special glacial action produces a large amount of silt and particulate matter which provides an abundance of provenance for the development of desert. Because of this, the local desert boasts the highest level of development in the world. Thus, the desert can be called glacier-type desert.
Besides, as the glaciers are located in the heartland of Qiangtang Nature Reserve, you can enjoy the sight of herds of Tibetan antelopes, Tibetan wild yaks, Tibetan wild kiangs and many other characteristic wild animals on the way or at surrounding areas. If you pay a visit to the glaciers from November to the following April, you can also view and admire winter ice walls of plateau lakes, ice caves and many other wonders.
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