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Gansu Province lies on the upper and middle reaches of the Yellow River in Northwest China. It is a place where the Qinghai-Tibet, Inner Mongolian, and Loess Plateaus meet and the middle section of the ancient Silk Road passed through.

The province has a total area of 455,500 square kilometers with an average elevation of more than 1,000 meters. Long and narrow in shape, Gansu has a landmass that is generally high in the southwest and low in the northeast. The eastern part consists chiefly of the Loess Plateau with many intricate gullies. The noted Hexi Corridor (Corridor West of the River), also known as the Gansu Corridor, extends westward from the Wushao Mountains and are flanked by the Qilian Mountains on the one side and the Mazong, Longshou, and Heli Mountains on the other. The southwestern part is made up of the high and cold but humid Gannan steppes.

The northern part is taken up by the Alashan highlands and the Badanjilin Desert. The province borders Shaanxi on the east, Sichuan on the south, Qinghai and Xinjiang on the west, and Ningxia and Inner Mongolia and the People's Republic of Mongolia on the north.

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