[the edge of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region]
Thank you all for your encouraging feedback; we have reached the western edge of the Chaidamu Basin. We drove out to the western Kunlun Mountain, the continuation of the Xidatan area we were in over a week ago.
We ventured briefly into Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region before turning back. We were over 1,100 kilometers from the next town within Xinjiang, therefore did not have enough fuel to complete this trek. Our expedition did not plan to go there in the first place, but only to mark a new boundary to our explorations.
We surveyed the Youshashan, Shizigou, and Ganchaigou Formations. Even though mammal fossils are not known from this area in the five decade long presence of the Qinghai Petroleum Geologists, this area is nevertheless the type section of these formations. This means the strata here represent the standard with which to define other contemporaeous sedimentary deposits of the basin.
Tomorrow we will drive back east to Olongbuluk Mountain, to work a few more days in the Chuanshuiliang area, where we discovered a rich mammal fauna earlier in the season.
The weather has been overcast, with daytime high temperature around the upper 60s degrees F. The hill tops are chilly though, as the wind blows from the snow-capped peaks of the Kunlun Mountains.