China's tiny desert oasis Yueyaquan Crescent Lake saved from a future under sand


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The Independent Online

The ancient Yueyaquan Crescent Lake oasis in the middle of the Chinese desert faced a bleak future under sand until the government stepped in to preserve the site for generations to come.

The popular tourist spot's lake had an average depth of around five metres in the 1960s but by the 1990s this had dropped to a depth of around one metre as sand encroached on the site. In 2006 the decision was taken to refill it and save the beauty spot from relegation to the pages of history.

Located around five miles south of Dunhuang in northern China, the 218m-long lake contains pure spring water and was formerly an important stop on the silk route, serving as a centre for trade between China and the west. It now relies heavily on tourism.