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Image Caption: STS040-613-011 Qaidam Basin, China June 1991
This mostly east-looking view shows the Qaidam Basin. Located in the Northern Tibetan Plateau, the Qaidam Basin sets between two branches of the Kunlun Mountains. To the north (left edge) are the Altun Mountains and to the south (right edge) are the Qimantag Mountains. The arid basin is 350 miles (560 km) long and 100 miles (160 km) wide. A salt marsh occupies most of the basin. Oil fields and refineries are located in the west part (bottom center) of the basin. Iron ore is mined in the southern part of the basin. Coal deposits have been found in the Qaidam Basin. Cooler climate crops such as wheat, highland barley, millet, and potatoes are grown during the short, cool summer months.