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Qaidam (chī-däm) or Tsaidam (tsī´däm, chī-däm), arid basin, c.350 mi (560 km) long and c.100 mi (160 km) wide, between two branches of the Kunlun range, central Qinghai prov., W China. A salt marsh occupies most of the area. Oil fields and refineries are found in W Qaidam, and iron ore is mined in the southern part.