THE EASHGAR BASIN.
South of the Tian Shan plateau, the second province, the Kashgar basin forms the western part of the vast inner basin of Asia, known as the Takla-Makan and the desert of Gobi. Its flat, barren surface lies at ,an elevation of from 3,000 to 4,000 feet above the sea and is everywhere surrounded by lofty mountains. Those on the north and west rise from io,000 to i s,000 feet above it, while to the southwest and south, in the Pamir and Kuen Lun, the heights are even greater. Muz-tagh-ata, one of the world's highest mountain peaks, is plainly in sight from
Fig. 126.—View of the Tertiary strata on—the edge of the Kashgar Basin west of Kashgar City. The layers here dip northwest away from the basin, which lies behind the observer. On the left several portions of an old grade plain probably represent the work of an early glacial epoch.
Kashgar, towering above clouds to the tremendous altitude of 25,800 feet. In few other parts of the world can so great a contrast of relief be seen at a single glance, for the parched plain in the foreground lies 2,500 feet below the snowy mountain peak.
The lower part of the slope from the mountains to the plain, where I saw it on the north and west sides of the basin, consists of the upper Tertiary formations (see fig. 126), while farther back toward the mountains lies the Mesozoic series. All the strata are deformed, but on the edges of the plain the outward dips are lessened, and the Tertiaries assume the form of a monocline with decreasing dip, pitching gently under the formations which are now accumulating on the plain itself. If the dip keeps on decreasing under the basin floor, as seems probable, the Tertiary strata must soon become conformable with those of the Quaternary.