This lake, now only a salt puddle, millions of years ago was a fresh water lake a thousand times larger than it is today. The lake's continental basin at 154.33 meters (505 feet), is the second deepest below sea level after the Dead Sea at 391 meters (1282.48 feet). The surface of the lake is completely encrusted with an ice-like layer of salt. The shores are like quicksand. Because of these conditions the local Uigur people call it "Moonlight Lake", because you can be easily misled by the appearances of mirages, the dry appearing surface so that when you walk on it you get bogged down. Because of the high salt content in the water no fish live in the lake nor do birds land there or on the salty shores. The only animals seen are the field mice and hares as they scurry away when a person approaches to close.
The basin of the plate-shape holds many rich resources - vitriol, Glauber's salt, coal and an alkaline soil. A chemical plant at lakeside refines Glauber's salt for use in detergents and also as a diuretic.
According to www.encyclopedia.com, Glauber's Salt is:
a common name for sodium sulfate decahydrate, Na 2 SO 4 ·10H 2 O; it occurs as white or colorless monoclinic crystals. Upon exposure to fairly dry air it effloresces, forming powdery anhydrous sodium sulfate . Johann Glauber was the first to produce the salt (from Hungarian spring waters). The naturally occurring salt is called mirabilite. Glauber's salt is water soluble, has a salty, bitter taste, and is sometimes used in medicine as a mild laxative; it is also used in dyeing.
Also, according to news.xinhuanet.com:
Chinese scientists will re-measure the lowest land point, Aydingkol Lake, in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The re-measurement project is expected to be approved by the superior authority and launched next year, said Liu Geqing, a senior official with Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional Land Surveying and Mapping Department.
Located in Turpan Basin in eastern Xinjiang, the freshwater lake is the lowest place in China and the second lowest place in the world. The lake is also dubbed China's Dead Sea, since its altitude is merely a little higher than the Dead Sea in western Asia.
The re-measurement could help the world find out the exact altitude of the lake, Liu said.
The lake was found to be 155 meters below sea level in 1978, though many books have been citing different figures in recent years.