Xiaobiele Lake

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Xiaobiele Lake
Xiaobiele Lake is located in Qinghai
Xiaobiele Lake
Xiaobiele Lake
Location Golmud County
Haixi Prefecture
Qinghai Province
Coordinates 37°03′00″N 94°39′19″E / 37.05000°N 94.65528°E / 37.05000; 94.65528Coordinates: 37°03′00″N 94°39′19″E / 37.05000°N 94.65528°E / 37.05000; 94.65528
Type Endorheic saline lake
Native name 小别勒湖  (Chinese)
Basin countries China
Surface area 0–6.25 km2 (0.00–2.41 sq mi)
Surface elevation 2,676.4 m (8,781 ft)
Xiaobiele Lake
Traditional Chinese 小別勒
Simplified Chinese 小别勒
Traditional Chinese 小別勒
Simplified Chinese 小别勒

Xiaobiele Lake or Xiaobieletan is an ephemeral lake in the southwestern Qarhan Playa north of Golmud in the Haixi Prefecture of Qinghai Province in northwestern China. Like the other lakes of the surrounding Qaidam Basin, it is extremely saline; like the other lakes of the surrounding Bieletan subbasin, it is rich in lithium.


The xiao at the beginning of the name is the pinyin romanization of the Chinese word meaning "little" or "lesser", distinguishing it from nearby Dabiele Lake ("Big" or "Greater Biele Lake"). Xiaobiele is also known as Xiaobieletan[1] from a Chinese word used for both beaches and muddy riverbanks.


Xiaobiele Lake is an ephemeral salt lake[2] in the Bieletan subbasin[3] in the southwestern quarter of the Qarhan Playa at an elevation of 2,676.4 m (8,781 ft).[4] It lies between Dabiele and West Dabusun Lakes. It is usually 6.25 km2 (2.41 sq mi) wide.[4] Its depth usually does not exceed 1 m (3 ft 3 in).[1]


Xiaobiele's position at the south end of the playa means that its waters are relatively less influenced by the concentrated mineral springs along the playa's northern boundary.[5] As with Dabiele, it is nonetheless nearly saturated with calcite, anhydrite, halite, and (importantly) carnallite,[6] which is processed to produce potash for potassium-rich fertilizers and other uses. The Bieletan subbasin as a whole—inclusive of Suli, S. Suli, and Dabiele—is also the richest source of brine lithium in China, with an estimated store of 7.74 million metric tons (8.53 million short tons) of lithium chloride.[7] The lithium derives from hot springs located near Mount Buka Daban which now feed the Narin Gol (那稜郭勒, Nàléng Guōlēi) or Hongshui River[8] (t 紅水, s 红水, Hóngshuǐ Hé) that flows into East Taijinar Lake.[9] In the past, however, the springs lay within the "Kunlun" paleolake which until about 30,000 years ago produced a river which flowed north into a broad alluvial fan feeding the "Qarhan" paleolake in the Sanhu area.[10] Bieletan's lithium came both from deposits directly flowing into the area at the time and continuing contributions from the Urt Moron and other rivers arising in and flowing through the former alluvial plain.[11]

See also



  1. ^ a b Yu & al. (2001), p. 62.
  2. ^ Yu & al. (2013), p. 176.
  3. ^ Du & al. (2018), pp. 2–3.
  4. ^ a b Zheng (1997), p. 15
  5. ^ Spencer & al. (1990), pp. 398–399.
  6. ^ Spencer & al. (1990), p. 405.
  7. ^ Yu & al. (2013), pp. 171–172.
  8. ^ Yu & al. (2013), pp. 177–178.
  9. ^ Yu & al. (2013), p. 173.
  10. ^ Yu & al. (2013), pp. 172–173.
  11. ^ Yu & al. (2013), p. 182.


  • Du Yongsheng; et al. (April 2018), "Evalutation of Boron Isotopes in Halite as an Indicator of the Salinity of Qarhan Paleolake Water in the Eastern Qaidam Basin, Western China", Geoscience Frontiers, Vol. 10, No. 1, Beijing: China University of Geosciences, pp. 1–10, doi:10.1016/j.gsf.2018.02.016.
  • Spencer, Ronald James; et al. (1990), "Origin of Potash Salts and Brines in the Qaidam Basin, China" (PDF), Fluid-Mineral Interactions: A Tribute to H.P. Eugster, Special Publication No. 2, Geochemical Society.
  • Yu Ge; et al. (2001), Lake Status Records from China: Data Base Documentation (PDF), MPI-BGC Tech Rep, No. 4, Jena: Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry.
  • Yu Junqing; et al., "Geomorphic, Hydroclimatic, and Hydrothermal Controls on the Formation of Lithium Brine Deposits in the Qaidam Basin, Northern Tibetan Plateau, China" (PDF), Ore Geology Reviews, No. 50, Amsterdam: Elvesier, pp. 171–183, doi:10.1016/j.oregeorev.2012.11.001.
  • Zheng Mianping (1997), An Introduction to Saline Lakes on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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