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According to a breakthrough discovery by Chinese scientists, there could be an “ocean” hidden under one of the driest areas on the earth. The amount of salt water found beneath the Tarim basin in northwestern Xinjiang province might be equivalent to 10 times the water in all five Great Lakes in the North America.
“This is a terrifying amount of water,” said professor Li Yan, who led the study at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography in Urumqi, the Xinjiang capital. “Never before have people dared to imagine so much water under the sand. Our definition of desert may have to change,” he said.
Around 10 years ago during the course of research, Li’s team found that large amounts of carbon-dioxide are disappearing in Tarim, with no explanation over where it could be going.
Scientists had suspected that the melt water from high mountains nearby might had sipped beneath the basin, but the exact amount of water reserves available remains unknown. Exact estimates on this are difficult, because surface water in the region, such as seasonal rivers and lakes appear at random times in inconsistent locations, making direct measurements impossible.