Crescent Lake (Dunhuang)

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Crescent Lake
Crescent Moon Lake (23889572731).jpg
The lake and pavilion in 2015
Coordinates40°5′12″N 94°40′10″E / 40.08667°N 94.66944°E / 40.08667; 94.66944Coordinates: 40°5′12″N 94°40′10″E / 40.08667°N 94.66944°E / 40.08667; 94.66944
Basin countriesChina
Surface area1.37 acres (0.55 ha)
Average depth4–5 m (1960)
0.9 m (1990s)
Max. depth7.5 m (1960)
1.3 m (1990s)

Yueyaquan (Chinese: 月牙泉; pinyin: Yuèyá Quán) is a crescent-shaped lake in an oasis, 6 km south of the city of Dunhuang in Gansu Province, China.


The lake was named Yueyaquan in the Qing Dynasty. Mildred Cable and Francesca French visited the lake during their travels in the region[when?] and recorded their impressions in their book The Gobi Desert, "All around us we saw tier on tier of lofty sand-hills, giving the lie to our quest, yet when, with a final desperate effort, we hoisted ourselves over the last ridge and looked down on what lay beyond, we saw the lake below, and its beauty was entrancing."[1]

According to measurements made in 1960, the average depth of the lake was 4 to 5 meters, with a maximum depth of 7.5 metres (25 ft). In the following 40 years, the depth of the lake continually declined. In the early 1990s, its area had shrunk to only 1.37 acres (5,500 m2) with an average depth of 0.9 meter (maximum 1.3 meter). In 2006, the local government with help of the central government started to fill the lake and restore its depth; its depth and size have been growing yearly since then.[2] The lake and the surrounding deserts are very popular with tourists, who are offered camel and all-terrain vehicle rides.


  1. ^ Mildred Cable with Francesca French, The Gobi Desert. London: Readers Union & Hodder and Stoughton, 1950, p. 63.
  2. ^ "No, it's not a mirage: Tiny 2,000-year-old oasis in China that keeps city alive is saved from being swallowed by desert". Mail Online. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.