The Gobi is the most abruptly continental place on the planet with harsh, unpredictable climate – a constant battlefield between dry frost, hot air and sudden sand or snow storms. Temperatures change rapidly and nights are always frigid. In terms of area, the Gobi is similar in size to Alaska which makes it one of the largest deserts in the world. Despite this fact it remains fairly unknown and, like the Amazon – fraught with stereotypes – ‘sand’, ‘Mongolia’, ‘camels’, ‘heat’.
gobi – arid land, wilderness (Mongolian)
In Turkic languages the word ‘gobi’ is used to describe territories devoid of life. There are many such territories in Mongolia.
Nomads divide the Gobi into 33 clearly differentiated sections, each with its own unique topography. In its larger part the Gobi is a rocky desert with only 5% sand. Mountains, red clay cliffs, crags and jagged masses; sculptures carved by the wind, cold and heat that seem to embody someone’s whimsical fantasies.
Mongols divide the Gobi in terms of colour as well: red (because of the clay), yellow (because of sand) and black. It is the black hue that astounds the most. Everything is covered by small stones blackened by the sun. Why? Once upon a time this territory was dominated by high mountains. Then came the wind and the sun. In many place round the world these two forces work hand in hand to create life but here things worked out otherwise. Over the course of a million years everything was destroyed. The wind whipped away the dust and sand leaving behind only the stones it was unable to sweep up. The sun, in its turn, scorched and blistered them, making them shiny and black.
Scientists divide the Gobi into four distinct regions: Dzungarian Gobi, Zaaltayskaya (Alashan) Gobi, Gashunskaya Gobi and Eastern (Mongolian) Gobi.
Gobi is a collective name for an extensive region in Central Asia dominated by dry wilderness. This vast area makes it the second largest desert in the world.
Daytime temperatures are very high, sometimes exceeding + 50° С, while nights are chilly. Temperatures are at their lowest after sunset and at dawn. Temperature fluctuations are extreme and may reach more than 40° C making it hard for the human body to adapt.