China Pictorials 中国

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Yarlung Zangbo River 雅鲁藏布江 Brahmaputra River

The Yarlung Zangbo River 雅鲁藏布江, Tibetan: ཡར་ཀླུངས་གཙང་པོ་

The Yarlung Zangbo river originates upstream from the South Tibet Valley and Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, in Tibet.It then passes through India, where it is known as the Dihang. Downstream the river becomes wider and at this point is called the Brahmaputra River. It eventually disgorges into the Bay of Bengal. Since the river crosses international boundaries, it has at least three different names in different languages.

The Yarlung Zangbo River is the highest major river in the world. Its longest tributary is the Nyang River. In Tibet the river flows through the South Tibet Valley, which is approximately 1200 kilometres long and 300 kilometres wide. The valley descends from 4500 metres above sea level to 3000 metres. As it descends, the surrounding vegetation changes from cold desert to arid steppe to deciduous scrub vegetation. It ultimately transitions into a conifer and rhododendron forest. The tree line is approximately 3,200 metres. Sedimentary sandstone rocks found near the Tibetan capital of Lhasa contain grains of magnetic minerals that record the Earth's alternating magnetic field current.

The Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, formed by a horse-shoe bend in the river where it flows around Namcha Barwa, is the deepest, and possibly longest canyon in the world. The river has been a challenge to whitewater kayakers because of the extreme conditions of the river.

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