Key Places - Mongolia Gobi
The Gobi Desert
Mongolia’s Gobi Desert is the largest desert in Asia and fith largest desert in the world. It is often imagined as a lifeless wilderness, as in many other parts of the world. In reality, large areas of the Gobi are steppe and mountains; only 5% of the area is sand dunes although the desert areas are growing and grasslands diminishing as a result of climate change. Unusually for an area of desert, the region experiences snowfall in winter.
The Gobi is rich with wildlife including bears, camels, golden eagles, gazelles, kulan and even snow leopards. Of archaeological significance, the Mongolian Gobi is also the largest dinosaur fossil reservoir in the world, especially rich in specimens from the late Cretaceous period. The area experiences extreme changes of conditions both daily and seasonally. It is rich in mineral reserves such as copper, gold and coal deposits.
The Gobi Desert has its own mythical creature: olgoi-kharkhoi or the Mongolian Death Worm. The Death Worm is said to be a rare creature living deep in the sands of the Gobi. Those who claim to have seen it describe it as a dark red, three-foot-long fat worm with spikes sticking out of both of its ends. The worm can spit corrosive acidic venom and discharge a lethal electrical shock from a great distance. There is no evidence it actually exists, but it makes for a great talking point.
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