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Khongor Dunes III.top | by etherflyer
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Khongor Dunes III.top

Lying around 180 km from Dalanzadgad, the dunes of Khongor is known as the «singing sands» and when the wind blows over the dunes it makes strange sound like the high-pitched tone of an aero plane engine about to take off or land. These dunes are largest accumulation of sand in the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park, covering 965 km². They rise abruptly from the plain reaching a height of 800 m and extend over 6-12 km wide by extending for 150 km long. The spectacular dunes are bordered by lush green vegetation supported by a small river Khongoriin gol, which is fed by underground sources from surrounding mountains. Swept into constantly varying shapes by the wind, parts of their attraction is the impressive colors that the yellow-white sands take on with the changing light of day.

 

Known to be one of the harshest anvironments on the planet, with extreme temperature and seasonal changes, the Gobi is surprisingly full of wildlife, such as gazelle, wild ass or hulan, wild camel or havtgai, antelopes and the endangered Gobi bear or mazaalai. The Gobi Desert was the site of some of the most famous dinosaur fossil discoveries, including the world’s first dinosaur egg nests, some of which can be seen in Ulaanbaatar’s Natural History Museum. The majority of Mongolia’s population of Bactrain camels lives in this region.

Khongor Sand Dunes stretch for an extraordinary 180km and are 15-20m wide and high. The dunes lie on the northern part of the mountains of Sevree and Zuulun. The sound produced by masses of sand moving in the wind can be heard from afar. This is why the dunes have been given the name ‘The Singing Sands’ or ‘Duut Manhan’. Near the Khongor Gol at the northern edge of the sand dunes is an oasis.

 

These horses started off the morning grazing on lush grass near a small stream, so I followed to take a few pictures. Something about the interplay between the rich browns of their coats and the desert sands fascinated me.

 

This High Dynamic Range 360° panorama was stitched from 78 bracketed photographs with PTGUI Pro, tone-mapped with Photomatix, and touched up in Aperture.

 

Original size: 18188 × 9094 (165.4 MP; 180.34 MB).

 

Location: Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park, South Gobi Aymag, Mongolia

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Taken on July 10, 2012