Thousands of kilometers to the sands of Central Asia in Transbaikal is a real desert with dunes boasting ridges of 20-25 meters in height, wind ripples in the sand, howling dunes and sandstorms. Here it is possible to see the remains of trees killed by the onset of the desert, and characteristic creeping grass clinging to the moving sand. In comparison to a full desert, Transbaikal lacks only camels and scorpions. The Chara Sands is a very small desert. Its area is only 5 x 10 km, and on all four sides the desert is surrounded by taiga wilderness, swamps and streams. This incredible coexistence of two theoretically incompatible types of landscapes is what makes the Chara sands and nearby Chara village a “miracle of nature.” The whole history of the village of Chara, founded in 1932, is associated with geological research in the Char valley territory, which is located to the north of Chita and is 690 km from the capital of Transbaikal.
The Kodar Mountain Range sharply changes elevation at the Chara valley, as if without foothills, like a 2-3 kilometers wall. Because of this, the Kodar mountains are sometimes called the “Transbaikal Himalayas.” Many thousands of years ago a few giant avalanches descended from the mountains and later formed the sea. Chara Sands is the bottom of a dried-up prehistoric sea.
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