Year of 2017

Aerial view of the Turpan Depression, China

Located at the foot of the Bogda Mountains in Western China, the Turpan Depression is one of the lowest exposed points on Earth’s surface—and one of the hottest. Here you’ll find salty Lake Ayding, now dry, located more than 500 feet below sea level. On the aptly named Flaming Mountains, summer temperatures frequently climb to over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and the red sandstone can appear as if it’s on fire at certain times of day. We’ll just admire it from this cool vantage point high above the surface, in space.

The Turpan Depression or Turfan Depression is a fault-bounded trough located around and south of the city-oasis of Turpan, in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in far western China, about 150 kilometres southeast of the regional capital Ürümqi. It includes the fourth lowest exposed point on the Earth’s surface, after the Dead Sea, Sea of Galilee, and Lake Assal. It is entirely below sea level. By some measures, it is also the hottest and driest area in China during the summer.