Tarim Basin

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The Tarim Basin (; Uyghur: تارىم ئويمانلىقى 'Tarim Oymanliqi') is a large endorheic basin occupying an area of about . It is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west. Its northern boundary is the Tian Shan mountain range and its southern is the Kunlun Mountains on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The Taklamakan Desert dominates much of the basin. The area is sparsely settled by the Uyghur, other Turkic peoples and Tajiks.


The Tarim Basin is the remains of an ancient microcontinent that amalgamated with the growing Eurasian continent during the Carboniferous to Permian. At present, deformation around the margins of the basin is resulting in the microcontinental crust being underthrust beneath the Tian Shan to the north, and the Kunlun Shan to the south.

A thick succession of Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic rocks occupy the central parts of the basin, locally exceeding thicknesses of . The source rocks of oil and gas tend to be Permian mudstones. Below this level is a complex Precambrian basement believed to be made up of the remnants of the original Tarim microplate, which accrued to the growing Eurasian continent in Carboniferous time.<!-- Unsourced image removed: -->The snow on K2, the second highest mountain in the world, flows into glaciers which move down the valleys to melt. The melted water forms rivers which flow down the mountains and into the Tarim Basin, never reaching...
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