Taklimakan Desert, the largest desert in China, saw a stunning display of rime on trees at an oilfield on Sunday in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It was the first rime formation in the desert this year.
For rime to occur, it needs a combination of cold climate, sufficient airborne moisture and clear skies overhead. Because Taklimakan lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, it is a paradigmatic cold desert climate. In winter, the temperature can drop below 20 degrees Celsius.
As rime carefully shrouded every twig of Euphrates poplars, the white icing, built up by thousands of tiny silver droplets, also carpeted sand dunes and withered leaves on the ground, creating a fairy tale scenario.
Snow covering the Taklimakan Desert. /VCG Photo
Nicknamed "the Sea of Death", the desert is famous for continuous sand dunes, which move constantly forward because of the wind. It is rich in natural resources, and buried under its vast expanse are resources such as groundwater, oil and gas.