Qinghai Lake

Qinghai Lake

Qinghai Province


September 12, 2016


Qinghai Lake is the largest lake in the People's Republic of China.

Located in Qinghai Province on an endorheic* basin, Qinghai Lake is classified as a saline and alkaline lake.

Qinghai Lake has a surface area of 4,317 square kilometers (1,667 sq. mi.); an average depth of 21 meters (69 ft.), and a maximum depth of 25.5 m (84 ft.).

The current Chinese name "Qinghai," the older Mongolian name "Kokonor", and the Tibetan name translate to "Green Sea,” "Blue Lake" and "Teal Sea" respectively.

Qinghai Lake is located about 100 kilometers (62 mi.) west of the provincial capital of Xining at 3,205 m (10,515 ft.) above sea level in a hollow of the Tibetan Plateau.

Twenty-three rivers and streams empty into Qinghai Lake, most of them seasonal. Five permanent streams provide 80% of total influx.

Despite the altitude (two miles high) and the weather (late summer cold and wet), Qinghai is a marvelously multi-colored body of water, especially in the early hours of the morning.

West of Qinghai Lake is another remarkable lake. The lake is highly saline and the guidebooks show an array of large natural salt structures located in a remote area.  Since time was limited we only stopped at the visitor center and the crowded surrounding grounds that I can only describe as a mini “Disney World of Salt.”

*I also had to look this up:


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