Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
Roof of the World, vast elevated plateau in East Asia
Qinghai-Tibetan (Qingzang, Tibetan) Plateau is a vast, elevated plateau in East Asia covering the whole Tibet Autonomous Region and part of Qinghai, Xinjiang, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces in China and other countries in Central Asia. Called "the roof of the world", it is the highest and biggest plateau in the world, with an area of 2.5 million square kilometers and an average elevation of over 4,500 meters. The Himalaya Range lies in the south of the plateau.

The plateau is a high-altitude dry plain with mountain ranges and large salt lakes. The southern and eastern edges have grasslands which can support populations of nomadic herdsmen. In the north and northwest, the plateau is higher, colder and drier with the average altitude exceeding 20,000 meters and year-round temperatures average −4℃. As a result, the remote Changtang region in the northwest is the least populated region in Asia and the third least populated area in the world after Antarctica and northern Greenland.

Several of the world's longest rivers originate on the plateau, including China's two longest rivers - Yangtze River and Yellow River. The world's highest railroad Qinghai-Tibet Railway was built on the plateau as part of the China Western Development Strategy. It links Tibet with the rest of China through Qinghai.
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