On Dec 6th in 2023, a group of us, including Prof. Gan, Prof. Jun, Dr. Shizhen, Dr. Jiao, Zhicheng and Weiru, went on the journey to Golmud. Our marvelous ten-day journey traveled more than 10,000 km in total, streching over Qinghai Province （Qaidam Basin), Shanxi Province and Xinjiang Province（Tarim Basin) and colletcing 43 surface brine/water samples, 27 sediment samples, 19 salt samples and 2 snow samples.We were very close to the border (cr: Prof. Gan).
The first two days of sampling campaign were for Qarhan Salt Lake （察尔汗盐湖） and Dabusun Lake （达布逊湖）, which the Golmud River (格尔木河) flows into. Prof. Gan and Prof. Jun also got involved in to collect surface brine, sediment and salt samples. We also dirved to the Chaidan Lake （大/小柴旦湖）.
The rest of the sampling campaign was led by Dr. Shizhen, with the assistance of Dr. Jiao and Zhicheng. We four dirved to Xining for the appealing Chaka Salt Lake as well as Qing hai Lake. The weather was freezing and the sampling site could reach an altitude of 3817 m, raising the difficulty of sampling. However, we overcame the difficulties as well as refueled each other! 🙂
The next site was Yuncheng Salt Lake （运城盐湖） in Shanxi. It was far beyond our imagination that we were unable to get close to the lake. We trudged through the reeds and finally collected the precious samples.
Sample with artemia salina inside.
The last site was at Xinjiang Province. We arrived there with excited hearts (That was my first time of travelling to Xinjiang). Manas Lake (玛纳斯湖) and Ebinur Lake（艾比湖）were our targets. Manas Lake was an artificial lake, surrounded by factories. It took our much time to get the permission to enter. Suprisingly, we obtained a set of salt samples from one of the factories and learned the process of manufacturing salt in the modern society. Ebinur Lake was almost dried even if Jing River （精河） and Bortala river （博尔塔拉河）both flow into it. Under the circumstances, Jiao and Zhicheng walk into the middle of the lake with rubber shoes.
We spent our last day on collecting surface water samples at Sayram Lake, which was known as “The last tear of the Atlantic”. Sayram Lake was so attractive that it was more like a sightseeing than sampling site for us. However, we still take it seriously.
During the entire sampling campaign, the joy was far more than the hardship and we four reviewed every day to make sure the selected sampling sites were worthwhile. Also, our Russian proficiency enhanced greatly thanks to Prof. Gan. LOL. I hope the follow-up experiment would go well and make dreams become reality.