Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Great Lakes

The Great Lakes in the world

Lakes are large to very large water bodies occupying a position between pond and sea; in size. Unlike sea; lakes have individuality as they stand separate and independent of each other where as the seas (oceans); though known in separate names are actually one single mass of water. The surrounding areas of lakes exhibit uniformity in culture and civilization as the mobility of the people being limited by the size and shape of the lake their exposure with outside world gets limited. These limitations breed very rare features in their life and make them case study for ethnologists.

One lake is different from the other not only in its geographical location but in its ‘physiology’ as some are salty some fresh. One lake (The Titicaca is four kilometers above sea-level, the other one; The Dead Sea is 418 meters (1371 feet below sea-level)! Lake Baikal of Russia is the deepest of all lakes in the world (1637) (which contains one fifth of the total quantity of fresh water available on earth!). Lake Victoria in Africa is the largest in the arid tropical region. Its total area is 68,800 sq miles. The Caspian Sea is a salty lake far bigger and known as the sea. Lake Superior located between America and Canada is the largest fresh water lake.

Lake Titicaca image courtsey: everestnews2004.com

Lake Titicaca in between the Andes Mountain ranges of South America is the highest placed in the world (about four kilometers above sea-level), depth also it is the second greatest. The lake is located between Peru and Bolivia. Titicaca got its name from a type of puma (wild cat) which lived in the lake islands and came to the shore during nights for hunting preys (Titicaca in the local language means rock-puma). The shape of the lake as seen in satellite imaging is also like a wild cat chasing a rabbit (must be just a coincidence as a shape of a lake could not be assessed so clearly during the lack of sophisticated instruments) There are about 41 largely populated islands in this lake; of which Isla Dal Sol (island of the Sun) is the largest (it is the second largest lake island in the world)

Dead Sea image courtsey: bibleplaces.com

Dead Sea is a lake and a rapidly diminishing one in size. It is unique for its extreme salinity, un-believable altitude (418 meters below sea-level) and its fast diminishing water level. It is the earth’s lowest point covered by water or ice and hence no river or any other water way to drain the water out. But the desert wind does this job well and takes away much more water than what River Jordan (the only source) contributes, the water level is getting depleted by one meter per year; arousing fears that the lake by name Dead Sea will become a salt pit within fifty years.

The role of this great water body (and the river Jordan which flows in to it) in the world history is more prominent than any other lakes as all the events in the Bible is one or other way related to this lake and pilgrims from all parts of the world flock to this lake in search of their holy sites. Many people still see Lot’s wife standing tall as a pillar of salt! The water of this sea is rich in many minerals over and above common salt and is supposed to be of medicinal values. Many health centers flourish on its banks which enable bath in its water as well as application of its mud for medicinal purpose.

Baikal Lake image courtsey: baikal-maria.irk.ru

Baikal Lake located in the Southern Siberian part of Russia was largely unknown to outside and remained unexplored up to the early 19th century behind the iron curtain. It is the deepest lake in the world and contains the largest volume of fresh water (about one fifth of the total quantity of fresh water available on earth is stored in it)! It was the ‘Baikal–Amur Railway’ which encircled the lake (constructed by the erstwhile Soviet Union during 1896 - 1902 which highlighted the strange geological features those engulfed this lake (Baikal – Amur railway is one of the mega projects under taken by that nation and this mega project included about 200 big bridges and 33 tunnels). Of the many islands in this lake Olkhan is the largest.

Lake Victoria image courtsey: adelaide.edu.au

Lake Victoria is the largest fresh water lake in the tropical area; it is the largest in the African continent located between Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. It is 68,800 sq miles in area but comparatively less deep than other great lakes in the world (Max depth 84 meters). This lake is the source of the White Nile a contributory of the great African river The Nile (the longest river in the world after MissouriMississippi). The surrounding are of this lake was the early cradle of mankind as it was here the apes were undergoing changes in to human beings! (Archaeologists have discovered the fossils skeletons of early half human beings)

Caspian Sea Image courtsey: princeton.edu

By sheer size (surface area 143243 sq miles) The Caspian Sea is the largest - too large to be considered to be a lake, it is something of a hybrid between the two as once it was a sea and became a lake by some geological changes that took place millions of years back.

No surprise that the Romans took it for sea due to its size and salinity. Its area is 143243 sq miles (far bigger than any other lakes) salinity is 1.2% (about one third of sea-water) and a volume of about 18761 Sq Miles.

The Caspian Sea is believed to be formed about 30 million years back and this sea got land-locked about 5.5 million years back. Discoveries made in the Huto Caves have proved that there was human inhabitation about 75,000 years back. There are many nations on its border Russia (with many other former members of erstwhile Soviet Union on one side and Iran on the other side. Caspian Sea is rich in natural resources especially oil and there are many nations to share it.

Lake Superior image courtsey: hickerphoto.com

Lake Superior that is located between America and Canada is the largest in fresh water lakes when surface area is considered (23010 sq miles) and third largest in volume. It has many rivers as contributories and one to drain its water out (The St. Mary’s River). Lake Superior is 563 km in its longest portion and maximum width of 257 km. This lake has a depth of about 147 meters.

Of late the level of water in this lake has been found declining steadily and this year it is 46 cm below long time average. Global warming has been mainly blamed for this sorry state, but there are accusations that the Americans divert water through the Chicago diversion from Lake Michigan and Lake Superior being the head of all the great lake waters actually remains the final looser. There were even reports “America stealing water”

Pure water is definitely going to be a precious commodity and there are fore castings that the future wars will be fought for water. In such a situation activists talking in extreme languages is quite natural, there are frequent riots fought in India between states for river waters. Riots for “Kaveri water” (a small river flowing through three states (Kerala, Tamilnadu and Karnataka) is an annual event well celebrated by politicians, media and the antisocial elements.

It is a great fortune that the people of developed nations generally go to the street with cudgels at the slightest provocations by activists, media and the politicians; otherwise there would have been many wars between nations who share common waters; and world wars would have become an annual event as in the case of Kaveri River in South India! Let there be a lot of water and all flow free not knowing any boundaries.


Humincat said...

Thanks for stopping by! Glad you liked it. Your blog seems way past mine in about every aspect, so I am completely surprised I got your attention. Have a great day!

Diogo Lyra said...

Hi, my random visitor!!!
I so glad for your comment and I must confess that your blog is very cool too.
Well, brazillian thanks for you, dude!

Jen said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog! I'm a teacher (grades 7 - 9) and use my blog to communicate with my students and parents. Your blog is very interesting! Will come in handy for my World Studies classes!

Anonymous said...

Hey; thanks for the visit! Hope my site stays interesting!

N_ said...

Oh thanks!
Can you read my blog because it's in Finnish?

Anonymous said...

Hello Biby,
thanks for your visit and your kind words, I'm very pleased. - Hope to see you soon!


p.s. May I link to your blog? (You may link to mine ;-))

Andres, JCT said...

i drove around lake superior once. it took a long, long long time.

Jamie Sue said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Yours is pretty cool too. Lots of good info here.

Rosemary Welch said...

What awesome images! My Daddy lived in Watertown, NY, and he used to take me to the St. Lawrence River. I adore lakes. Thank you for relief from politics! lol.

Unknown said...

A little 'hello' from the Great Lakes state of Michigan!
I have always summered on a little lake called Torch Lake - it is filled with gorgeuos, crystal clear water. Check it out some time!

Camilo Cienfuegos said...


Searching "lagoa dos patos" in google, is a big lake in south Brasil.

Obrigado pela vista.

Muito interessante teu blog, te adicionei na minha listagem de blogs amigos.


Muffin said...

Hey...cool blog...
Thanks for visiting mine!

Teotl Tepa said...

Muchas gracias por el comentarioen mi blog, se agradece.
Por otro lado checare el tuyo empezo gustandome, porque me encantan las fotografias, me costara un poco leerlo, dado a que mi ingles es minimo, pero tratare estamos en contacto un saludo desde Mexico.

Sha said...

Just want to thank you for the visit.

L. Pralangga said...

Nice to have found your blog and visit here,kind regards from West Africa
PS: Oh yes, This ol' blog is back online after a long hibernation.. :-)

uioukjkk said...

Beautiful photos!

Rebecca said...

hey thanx for stopping in. you blog is definitely interesting that's for sure. and i'm proud to say that i've been to at least 2 of your lakes, l. superiour, and l. titicaca, and hope to see the rest of them very soon!!
have a great day!!!!

ahib0205 said...

seriously nice n a lot of information at this blog! cheers :)

Anonymous said...

Hey! I casually come upon your blog. I loved this post... I have been in the amazing Lake Titicaca and it is one of the most beautiful places I have seen. We even got in for a little swim (very little since the water is freezing!!!) There´s just something magical about lakes! The peace, the tranquility, the sense of beauty overfloundering everywhere. (I don´t know if that word exists... but it expreses what I needed to say!) Nice blog.. I´ll come back!

Mancha said...

I'm going to go to Titicaca Lake next summer, any suggestions?

Angus Woodward said...

Cool blog, dude. I've been to Lake Superior! Thanks for visiting Intermittent Transmissions (http://intermittenttransmissions.blogspot.com).