Golmud, also #Name, known by various other romanizations, is a county-level city in the Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province, China. It is now the second-largest city in Qinghai and the third largest in the Tibetan Plateau (after Xining and Lhasa). The population in 2020 is 221,863.


''Golmud'' is a romanization of Mongolian, romanization of a Mongolian language, Mongolian word meaning "rivers". ''Ge'ermu'' is the pinyin romanization of Chinese, romanization of the Standard Mandarin, Mandarin pronunciation of the same name's transcription into Chinese characters; it is sometimes misspelled ''Geermu''. ''Ko-erh-mu'' was the same name romanized using the Wade–Giles system; ''Golmot'' was the romanization used by the Chinese Postal Map. The Wylie romanization of the Classical Tibetan, Tibetan form of the name is ''Nagormo''.


Golmud is part of Haixi Prefecture in western Qinghai Province. Despite being nominally a "city", the built-up urban area of Golmud comprises only of the county's . Most of the county lies in the southern Qaidam Basin and in the foothills of the Kunlun Mountains. A large southern exclave is administered as the "town (China), town" of Tanggula Town, Tanggula, separated from the rest of the county by the western panhandle of the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The northern part borders Xinjiang to its northeast; the southern exclave borders the Tibetan Autonomous Region to its southwest. Golmud proper is at an elevation of . It grew up alongside the Golmud River, which gave it its name. North of Golmud is the Qarhan Playa, a salt pan (geology), salt flat with about ten perennial salt lake (geography), salt lakes. The largest is Dabusun Lake, which receives the waters of the Golmud. The more important smaller lakes are Suli Lake, Suli, South Suli Lake, South Suli, Dabiele Lake, Dabiele, Xiaobiele Lake, Xiaobiele, Tuanjie Lake, Tuanjie, Xiezuo Lake, Xiezuo, Dongling Lake, Dongling, and North Hulsan Lake, North and South Hulsan Lake, South Hulsan, which receive the waters of smaller inflowing streams. Qarhan is part of the larger Sanhu Depression, which includes East Taijinar Lake, East and West Taijinar Lakes. Other major lakes in the southern exclave of Golmud include (), National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and (, )., National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency


Golmud has a cold Desert climate, arid climate (Köppen climate classification, Köppen ''Desert climate#Cold desert climates, BWk''), with long, cold winters, and warm summers. The monthly 24-hour average temperature drops to in January and rises to in July, while the annual mean is . Precipitation is very low, totaling only per annum, falling on 28 days, most of which are during the summer. Relative humidity averages only 32%, with all months below 40%, some of the lowest levels nationally. With monthly percent possible sunshine ranging from 62% in July to 81% in November, the city receives 3,096 hours of bright sunshine annually.


Golmud is a rather young city. It was first established in 1954 when the Transportation regiments of Qinghai-Tibet Corps set up a food distribution base, manned by 10 people, at the current location, and in May of that year, construction on the Qinghai-Tibet Highway commenced. Scientific exploration of the mineral resources of Qarhan Playa, Qarhan were undertaken in the 1950s, leading to the discovery of the area's potash and natural gas field, gas fields. Systematic surveying was undertaken in the 1960s and 1970s, with the railway permitting industrial exploitation from the 1980s. The first oil pipeline and potassium fertilizer factory were opened in 1989. The Golmud Kunlun Economic Development Zone was opened in 1992. In 2004, a second pipeline arrived. In the 2010s, an influx of further investment followed realization of the importance of the Sanhu Depression, Sanhu's supplies of lithium and rare earths for modern personal electronics and electric cars. In 2016, over 85% of goods movement with Tibet passed through Golmud.

Administrative divisions

Subdistricts: * () * () * () * () * () Towns: * Tanggulashan, Tanggula (གདང་ལ་, ) * () Townships: * () * ()


In 2017, the population of the total area of Golmud was approximately 240,494. A 2018 publication by the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, National Ethnic Affairs Commission reported that ethnic Han Chinese comprise 69.82% of the city's population, and Ethnic minorities in China, minority ethnic groups comprise 30.18%. The city's is home to 33 ethnic minorities, of which, the largest are the Mongols, Tibetan people, Tibetans, and Hui people, Hui people.


The Qarhan Playa has China's largest reserves of salt, potassium, and magnesium, as well as other valuable minerals. Taken together, the mineral resources in the playa were estimated to be worth over 15 trillion renminbi (RMB) as of 2002.. The area's salt has also trapped valuable hydrocarbons. The Sebei-1 and Sebei-2 fields near Suli Lake are also China's 4th-largest onshore reserves of natural gas and the entire area may have reserves as high as 1 trillion m³ (35 trillion cu. ft.). The larger Sanhu Depression includes East Taijinar, East and West Taijinar, which hold China's largest reserves of lithium. The surrounding countryside also produces Gold mining in China, gold, copper in China, copper, jade in China, jade, lead, and zinc. A pipeline delivers crude oil from Huatugou Oilfield to a oil refinery, refinery at Golmud. The refinery has a capacity of 1 million metric tons a year; is able to produce 100,000 metric tons a year of methanol and 20,000 MT/yr of polypropylene; and has a 100,000 MT/yr natural-gas processing, gas fractionator. According to the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, National Ethnic Affairs Commission, the per capita Disposable and discretionary income, disposable income in Golmud was 6,852 yuan in the first quarter of 2017, a 9.3% increase from the one year prior. Golmud has been one of the areas included in China's Targeted Poverty Alleviation, Targeted Poverty Alleviation program, which the Commission states has entailed the reconstruction of houses in the city with subpar living conditions, and subsidizing low-income students in the city. The Commission also states that the government has been developing the production of traditional woodworking, embroidery, and other local crafts through designated "demonstration areas" (). Statistics for 2001 show that the city's nominal GDP totaled 2.213 billion RMB, a rise of 31.9% from the previous year and the highest growth rate since 1990.



Golmud lies along the Qinghai–Tibet railway, a railway that starts from Xining and ends at Lhasa in the Tibet Autonomous Region. The Golmud-Lhasa section, with a length of , was the last and most challenging part of the railway to be completed. After five years of construction, the first train for Lhasa left Golmud on 1 July 2006. In October 2012 construction started on the Golmud–Dunhuang Railway. It will actually branch off the Qinghai–Tibet Railway at the Yinmaxia railway station, Yinmaxia station north of Golmud, and will cross the Qaidam Basin and the Altyn-Tagh/Qilian Mountains, Qilian system on the way to Dunhuang in the neighboring Gansu province. The Golmud-Korla Railway running north west from Golmud into Korla, Xinjiang began construction in November 2014 and was completed in 2020.


*The Golmud-Lhasa National Trunk Highway System, highway, extending , is part of the 1,930-km Qinghai-Tibet highway (China National Highway 109) connecting Xining and Lhasa. *China National Highway 215, runs north from Golmud to Dunhuang, Gansu


* Golmud Airport

Twin cities

* Bharatpur, Nepal, Bharatpur, Nepal * Dobrich, Bulgaria * Kiryat Malakhi, Israel

In popular culture

The Golmud Railway is featured as an online multiplayer map in the video game ''Battlefield 4''.




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External links

Official website (Chinese)
{{Authority control Cities in Qinghai Populated places in Tibet Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture