HomeWorld NewsYuncheng Salt Lake, China's very own 'Dead Sea'

Yuncheng Salt Lake, China’s very own ‘Dead Sea’

(CNN) — Xiechi Lake, also referred to as Yuncheng Salt Lake in China’s Shanxi province, has change into fashionable on Instagram and different social media web sites lately due to eye-popping aerial pictures of its colourful floor.

Now, China needs to transform that on-line reputation into real-life tourism.

First step: promote it to Chinese home vacationers.

Recent tourism campaigns on Chinese social media websites together with Weibo and WeChat consult with Xiechi as “China’s Dead Sea” and tout each its magnificence and its therapeutic properties.

“As the Chinese version of Israel’s Dead Sea, floating here is an unforgettable experience, and one you can’t find anywhere else,” reads a tourism advert sponsored by the appropriately named Yuncheng Salt Lake (China’s Dead Sea) Tourism Development Co. LTD.

One accolade stands out as an indication of the lake’s endorsement on the highest ranges: Xiechi Lake was featured in a 2019 Chinese TV special celebrating the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Salt crystals kind on the highest of Xiechi Lake.

Alamy

How the surprise was fashioned

There are three sorts of salt lakes on the planet: carbonate, chloride and sulfate. The Dead Sea and the Great Salt Lake in Utah are each chloride lakes. Yuncheng, nevertheless, falls into the final group.

“If the sulfate in your water is greater than the calcium, all the calcium is used up, which leaves you with an excess of sulfate and you have a sulfate lake,” explains Hong Kong Baptist University geography professor Bernie Owen.

Xiechi can be a “closed basin” lake — which means it would not circulate out to a river or ocean — which explains how its salt content material stays so excessive.

“Water comes in with salt, water escapes, salt stays behind, more water comes in with salt, evaporation. Salt stays behind,” Owen explains. “There’s no outlet on this one. It will just gradually become saltier and saltier and saltier.”

But what about these beautiful colours which have made the lake so fashionable with photographers? They should do with the species of animals and vegetation dwelling within the water.

“if you’ve got brine shrimps, you tend to get red colors,” says Owen. “There’s a microscopic animal called a rotifer, and that will give a purple color. Purples you (also) tend to get with green algae. And then greens or oranges (occur) in very saline lakes.”

It is feasible for salt lakes to freeze over, though not as shortly as different lakes — in spite of everything, take into consideration what occurs once we unfold salt over icy roads. Saltwater freezes at decrease temperatures than freshwater.

An aerial view of Xiechi Lake

An aerial view of Xiechi Lake

Xue Jun/Alamy

A lake turns into a star

In an effort to spice up Xiechi Lake’s worldwide profile, China is reportedly taking steps to get it listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In a 2019 WeChat submit, Luo Huining, get together secretary of Shanxi Province, introduced that native officers had begun the applying course of.

“Yuncheng Salt Lake is the crystallization of Chinese culture and civilization. The salt lake has positive significance for promoting our cultural confidence and heritage,” he stated on the time.

China has closely centered on UNESCO bids, which will be costly and time-consuming, as a solution to confer worldwide legitimacy on its many historic and pure wonders.

Currently, China has 56 such World Heritage websites, putting it second solely to Italy on the whole listing. That feat is much more spectacular contemplating that the nation’s first crop of UNESCO designations — which included the Great Wall and Forbidden City — solely got here in 1987.

Two extra such recognitions would tie China with Italy for the highest spot on the UNESCO listing.

There’s some excellent news for wannabe vacationers who hope to go to Xiechi Lake — it is not but as fashionable or crowded as different vacationer spots in China.

Tiger Li of journey firm Diverse China tells CNN that he has solely organized a number of visits there. Nearly all of the guests up to now have been Chinese home vacationers.

That is more likely to stay unchanged so long as China stays principally closed to worldwide tourism. The nation closed its borders in early 2020 and stays one of many few locations on the planet nonetheless adhering to a “zero Covid” technique that features very strict quarantine insurance policies.

“Besides the scenery, I think the mud bath and other experiences are the key reason they go (to Xiechi Lake),” Li says.

According to a press release from the Yuncheng metropolis authorities, Xiechi Lake comprises black mud with restorative and therapeutic properties — identical to the Dead Sea.

The doc goes on to say that individuals can float alongside the floor of the water with out sinking — additionally, coincidentally, identical to the Dead Sea.

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