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Yarlung Zangbo River

The Yarlung Zangbo River originates 5,590 meters above sea level in Gyemayangzong on China's Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It flows into India as the Bramaputra River, and to Bangladesh as the Jamuna before emptying into the Indian Ocean. The Chinese section streches 2,075 kilometers at the highest elevation of any river in the world. Some 75 per cent of the Chinese section flows through highlands at an average elevation of 3,000 meters. This section of the river also features the greatest drop in elevation of any river in the world, falling from 5,070 meters in the west to 155 meters in the east, a total drop of 4,915 meters. Man has never before entered various remote stretches in the river valley due to harsh weather conditions and geological features, which include rugged peaks, deep valleys and dangerous rapids. The rare geological and environmental conditions, as well as abundant natural resources in the area, have long attracted the interest of both Chinese and overseas scientists.

The Yarlung Zangbo River has cut into the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and formed a deep valley. It is the major passage for the southern air stream flowing towards the highlands in the north. Chinese scientists have determined that the sources of the river is in the northern foothills of the Himalayas. Its upper stream is about 295 kilometers long. The riverbed is wide and shallow there. The middle reaches are 1,361 kilometers in length, dropping from 4,550 meters to 2,800 meters above sea level. The middle reaches, which flow through areas of Tibetan culture and agriculture, include a number of famous tributaries, such as the Lhasa River. The lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River make a sharp turn around namjagbarwa Peak, emptying into astonishing gorge less than 100 meters wide. This dramatic gorge looks like a waterfall when viewed from the air. The river flows at a breath-taking rate of up to 84 kilometers per hour. The gorge, known as the Great Turn Valley, is listed in the Guinness Book Of Records as the world's biggest and deepest valley. The valley starts at an elevation of 2,800 meters and ends at 500 meters, meaning the river in this section drops 2,300 meters. The valley is a great "library" of different species and is rich in bio-diversity. It is a  natural reserve of rare species and living fossils. The gorge area is embraced by high peaks, which tower more than 5,000 meters above sea level. To the south, Mount Namjagbarwa is 7,782 meters high, and Gyarabaili to the north reaches 7,151 meters. Sheer cliffs drop from the peaks to the river. The Yarlung Zangbo River ranks second in China in terms of water resources, next only to the Yangtze River. Two-thirds of the Yarlung Zangbo's water resources are located in the gorge.

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