Qarhan Salt Plain

potash-bearing brine in China

Geologic information

Location:95.147, 36.981
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Site typedeposit
Deposit typepotash-bearing brine
Evaporite basinQinghai
Basin typecontinental closed basin
Upper Pleistocene-[recent]
Maximum:Cenozoic-Quaternary-Pleistocene-Upper Pleistocene
Potassium minerals:
Other minerals:
Notes:Deposit includes salts and brines.
Geologic map unit95.147, 36.981
Nearby scientific dataFind additional scientific data near this location

Economic information

StatusActive Production
Estimates of reserves or resources
K2O tonnage1) 145; 2) 440Million tonnes
Data source1) Industrial Minerals (2001b); 2) Zhang and others (2009)

Reference information


Contains at least 9 shallow perennial saline lakes.


Industrial Minerals, 2001b, Qinghai potash progress: Industrial Minerals, no. 407, p. 77.
Lowenstein, T.K., Spencer, R.J., and Pengxi, Z., 1989, Origin of ancient potash evaporites; Clues from the modern nonmarine Qaidam Basin of western China: Science, v. 245, no. 1090-1092.
Warren, J., 1999, Evaporites; Their evolution and economics: Malden, Mass., Blackwell Science, 438 p.
Wen Lu, 1998, Chinese industrial minerals: Worcester Park, United Kingdom, Industrial Minerals Information Ltd., 210 p.
Yang Qian, 1986, The geological characteristics of the potash deposit of the Qarhan inland salt lake in Qaidam Basin, China, in Workshop on Occurrence, Exploration and Development of Fertilizer Minerals, Fertilizer minerals in Asia and the Pacific: Bangkok, Thailand, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Mineral concentrations and hydrocarbon accumulations in the ESCAP region, v. 1, p. 181-190.
Zhang, F., Zhang, W., Ma, W., and others, eds., 2009, The chemical fertilizer industry in China- A review and its outlook: Paris, France, International Fertilizer Industry Association, 201 p.