Kuenlun, Or Kulkun, a mountain range of central Asia, forming the N. boundary of Thibet, and separating it from East Turkistan, the desert of Gobi, and the Koko-nor territory. It runs from W. to E. on or near the parallel of 36° N., until near lon. 92° E. it is broken by the irregular mountain groups around Lake Koko-nor. The Nan-shan and Kilian-shan ranges may be considered as its eastern prolongations. At the W. end it is connected with the Hindoo Koosh, near its union with which it is attached on the north to the Belur Tagh, a great chain running N. and S. along the E. frontier of Independent Tartary. The Kara-korum range, with which the Kuenlun is often said to be linked, is really a distinct branch of the Himalaya. The loftiest summits attain a height of 22,000 ft. The mountain of Shin-khieu in the Kuenlun chain is remarkable for a cavern emitting continual flames which diffuse for some distance an agreeable odor, probably from naphtha; it is not a volcano, but a tire spring. The highest watershed, according to the brothers Schlagintweit, who crossed the Kuenlun in 1856, is near the Karakorum pass, the elevation of which is 18,345 ft.
The rivers Yarkand and Karakash take their rise near this pass.