Do you know the places used to test nuclear weapons? One such place is Lop Nur or Lop Nor. The choice of place is certainly not haphazard, because nuclear radiation will adversely affect the surrounding environment.
In fact, Lop Nur is not just an important place for nuclear weapons testing. Want to know more about Lop Nur? Immediately, see the following facts!
1. Formerly a large saltwater lake
By page NASA Earth Observatory, Lop Nur is in the Xinjiang autonomous region and is located at the eastern end of the Taklimakan Desert. Even though this place is identical to a dune with a height of up to 200 meters, it was once a saltwater lake, you know.
During the early to mid Pleistocene, the area had a large saltwater lake. Then it underwent climate change and began to dry up in the Holocene era. Based on sediment studies, crop residues and mollusks, this region was once in a wet climate condition but Lop Nur experienced a severe drought for 3,000 years.
2. Known as the ‘sea of death’
The lake at Lop Nur has dried up since the 1970s and has become a stretch of salt lake in the middle of the desert. Tarim River which is the longest river in the interior of China is also dry. Likewise, loss of fish and vegetation depend on water availability.
Sandstorms and high temperatures make Lop Nur a ‘sea of death’. There was a traveler named Yu Chunshun and a scientist, Peng Jiamu, lost his life in that place. At present only a few desert plants and animals can live there.
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3. Low humidity and rich in potassium
At present Lop Nur looks dry and sandy because it only receives an average annual rainfall of 31.2 mm and evaporation of 2.9 mm. Can you imagine how dry and hot the place is? Nevertheless, there is still something valuable from Lop Nur, namely potassium.
The discovery of potassium in Lop Nur in the mid-1990s made it a large-scale mining operations area. Potassium is the main nutrient for plant growth and as a main ingredient for fertilizer. When viewed from satellite Earth Observing-1, will appear a brightly colored square in the middle of the desert which is an evaporation pond.
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4. The only nuclear weapons test site in China
Reporting from the page Nuclear Threat Initiative, Lop Nur which covers 100,000 square km is the only Chinese nuclear weapons test site. Lop Nur is the largest nuclear testing site in the world. The place also becomes a location for nuclear weapons stockpiling and training.
China is officially founded Lop Nur Nuclear Test Base on October 16, 1959 with Soviet assistance in site selection. There are four nuclear testing sites there, namely Qinggir (underground test), Nanshan (tunnel shot), Beishan (used for underground tests in 1969 and 1976 and the Atmofer test zone).
Lop Nur’s headquarters is located in Malan, located between the settlements of Uxxaktal and Yushugou. Tens of kilometers north of Malan is the place Red Mountain Institute which is below Northwest Nuclear Technology Institute. They are tasked with conducting research on nuclear explosions, weapons and warfare.
5. Terrible environmental impact
As you know, post-use of nuclear weapons can have a negative impact on the environment. As reported from the page Nuclear Risks, cancer rates in Xinjiang reached 30-35 percent higher than other regions in China.
The bomb that was detonated in Lop Nor was 300 times stronger than the bomb on Hiroshima, resulting in the amount of radioactivity released into the atmosphere also getting higher. Even a study in 2008, stated that recorded in cities close to the test site had a high risk of causing malformations and cancer in infants.
6. Become a wild camel sanctuary
Although it has temperatures and conditions that are less friendly to humans and various types of animals, plants and even used as a nuclear weapons test site, but part of the area is a nature reserve for wild camels. Reported by page Wild CamelsIn 2001, Lop Nur officially became the Wild Camel National Nature Reserve. The nature reserve is located east of the Tarim river basin.
The nature reserve makes wild camels as ‘umbrella species’ which protect other endangered species. The nature reserve is managed by the governments of China and Mongolia.
That was the sixth fact about Lop Nur, a salt lake that has turned into a desert. Then it became a place for testing nuclear weapons until part of its territory became a nature reserve for rare animals, such as wild camels.
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