Geography the Gobi Desert: Its Term Paper

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The rain, averaging only 2-4 inches annually, comes in seasonal bursts that sometimes result in flash floods. Temperatures throughout the Gobi Desert are equally extreme, with lows records at -40 degree Fahrenheit and highs of 113 degrees Fahrenheit (Sadler 76). All of these climatic and geologic forces have combined to shape the landscape throughout the Gobi Desert. They have created immense megadunes a quarter of a mile tall held together by sparse deposits of subsurface water (Middleton 60). This doesn't even include the normal sized sand dunes, grassland plateaus frequented by nomadic herdsmen, badlands, and towering mountain ranges (Sadler 76).

Though we might be surprised to find human effects on a landscape this harsh and this remote, human beings have left their mark on the Gobi Desert, with settlements found dating back 4,000 years (Middleton 59). Of Mongolia's population of only 2.2 million, 40% make their lives as nomads on the grasslands of the Gobi Desert. These nomads will travel 20 to 100 miles every few months just to provide their herds with enough sustenance (Spritzer 20; Wirtanen and Wirtanen 98). These nomads have not had a significant ecological impact on the region, as their low population and transitory lifestyle reduces immediate environmental impacts. But new developments are occurring that threaten the pristine landscape. The remoteness of the Gobi Desert has made
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it an increasingly attractive destination for ecotourists. Numerous paleontologic finds attract researchers and scientists every year. Oil and mineral deposits have also attracted Westerners interested in the possibility of making small fortunes in the desolate Gobi Desert ("Gobi"; "Spritzer 20). In all, we can expect that this new interest in the Gobi Desert by Westerners will have the effect of increasing human impacts on the region.

As students we can look to the Gobi Desert as a unique source of knowledge about geography in one of the most extreme environments in the world. The Gobi Desert can provide the thoughtful researcher with a wealth of information about how landscapes are shaped and manipulated by -- almost -- purely natural forces, independent of human effects. Of course, human influences have always been present in the Gobi Desert, a fact that seems to be increasing. As Christians, this gives us a powerful opportunity to interact with and influence the native cultures that already exist in the region, as the West expands its influence throughout the Gobi Desert.

Works Cited

Gobi." Answers.com. 28 Mar. 2007 http://www.answers.com/topic/gobi.

Middleton, Nick. "The Dunes of the Badain Jaran." Geographical (Oct. 2006): 56-62.

Sadler, Christa J. "Gobi Desert." Earth 5.4 (Aug. 1996): 76-79.

Spritzer, Dinah a. "Mongolia's Pristine Ecology, Nomadic…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Gobi." Answers.com. 28 Mar. 2007 http://www.answers.com/topic/gobi.

Middleton, Nick. "The Dunes of the Badain Jaran." Geographical (Oct. 2006): 56-62.

Sadler, Christa J. "Gobi Desert." Earth 5.4 (Aug. 1996): 76-79.

Spritzer, Dinah a. "Mongolia's Pristine Ecology, Nomadic Culture Lure Visitors." Travel Weekly 53.83 (20 Oct. 1994): 20.

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