Friday, May 9, 2008

Some Wonderful Lakes of the World

Some Wonderful Lakes of the World

Each lake; a world of its own

Lakes are not seas; they are enclosed water bodies of substantial size; they nurture the people around giving them almost all their day today needs like food, water, transportation recreation etc. they support a bio system around its peripheries to evolve independently and develop in to an exotic culture specific to its shores. Communities living around develop a unique culture and identity. Due to these exclusivities lakeshores always offer a special charm for the visitors and act as hot tourist spots giving precious jobs to the local people.

They are all good whether big or small

There are many types of lakes like saline (The Caspian Sea), hyper saline (The Dead Sea), fresh water (Lake Victoria), high altitude (Lake Titicaca), low altitude (Dead Sea), extremely deep (Baikal), with largest island(Huron), located on lake-island (Manitou) etc. Some of them is sacred and medicinal (Spotted Lake), some filled with tar and repulsive but they all have one thing in common they are all extremely useful to mankind.

Lake Toba, in Sumatra Island, Indonesia

lake toba

Lake toba image courtesy:

This is a 100 km long lake located in the island of Sumatra that houses the largest island in a lake on an island. It has another credit as it is the largest volcanic island in the world. The name of the island is Pulau Samosir which was formed by the eruption of a super volcano tens of thousands of years ago. Lake Toba is formed when the caldera of the volcano got filled with water. It is believed that this explosion (occurred about 70,000 years back) was the biggest eruption occurred in the past 20 million years back.

The Spotted Lake, Kliluk, Osoyoos Canada

lake kliluk spotted lake

Kliluk the Spotted LakeSpotted Lake image courtesy: liembo

More than just a 15 hectare wide lake the Spotted Lake is a sacred spot for the native Indians who live there. This lake is located about 5.5 km from Osoyoos and can be seen from highway no 3. It has one of the highest concentrations of minerals like epsum, calcium, sodium and magnesium than any other lakes in the world. These minerals form large bun-like formations on the lake surface in yellow, brown, golden or red tinge. The natives bath in this lake for healing, almost all of the ailments they suffer.

Pitch Lake, La Brea Southwest Trinidad

pitch lake trinidad

Pitch lake trinidad image courtesy:

A forty hectare lake with a depth of 75 meters; that has no water but filled with tar (asphalt) of very pure quality! It was Sir Walter Raleigh the great explorer who discovered this strange tar-lake in 1595. It is believed that some geographical phenomena would have released the underground oil deposit to above ground. When low density components evaporated the tar left there forming a lake. This ‘tar-lake has emerged as a gold mine for the government as it has become a hot tourist attraction with 20,000 annual visitors. The asphalt is mined and exported for hard cash. How long this lake would sustain such a rampant exploitation remains to be seen.

Lonar Lake

lonar lake india

Lonar lake india image courtesy:

The Lonar Lake is in Maharashtra, India is located in Buldhana District (it is part of the ancient historically important place by name Vidharba around 200 km from the famous Ajanta Caves known for the exquisite sculptures it has in abundance. This lake was formed due to a big meteorite collision occurred around 50,000 years back. The USP of Lonar Lake is that it has a perfect circular shape as if drawn by a compass with one arm

at its center and the other arm at a distance of 1 km. This lake has an average depth of 170 meters. This lake and numerous ancient temples located in its surrounding points attract tourists as well as pilgrims from all parts of the world.

Chilka Lake, Orissa India

chilika lake orissa

Chilka lake orissa india image courtesy:

It has an area of 1100 sq km and is the largest estuary in India and a designated Ramsar Site (a wetland of international importance). The biodiversity it supports in one of the largest in the world and some of them are in the Red List of the IUCN. There are about 400 vertebrates endemic to this lake; the Irrawaddy Dolphin, limbless barakudia skink etc (there are only fifty numbers of Irrawady Dolphins left at present). Chilka Lake is one of the largest wintering grounds for waterfowls (last year the number of migratory birds visited this lake amounted more than two million). These feathered visitors include those from Baikal, Aral Sea Himalaya and Lake Issik Kul of Kyrgyzstan. There are a number of islands in this lake some of them are inhabited of which Krushnaprasad, Nalaban, Kalijai, Somolo are important ones.

Manitou Lake, Manitoulin Island Lake Huron, Canada

manitou lake

Manitou Lake canada image courtesy:

Lake Huron is second in size among the Great Lakes but it has the credit of housing world’s largest lake island (Manitoulin) that in its turn houses world’s largest fresh water lake in a fresh water lake island – the Manitau Lake. When this lake- island is 2766 sq km in area its Manitau Lake itself is 104 sq km in area; the funny thing is that Manitoulin Island houses about 107 other lakes within it. The Manitau Lake has its own islands though small making them islands in a lake within an island in a fresh water lake! This lake is drained by River Manitau.

Finnish Lakeland

finnish lakeland

Finnish Lakeland image courtesy:

This is a territory located in the central and East Finland and as its name suggests it is a land of lakes; the total number of lakes here have never been ascertained as it is too much! It is 40 lakes per 100 sq km in this area but for Lake Inari the count is 1000 per 100 sq km! It has been guestimated that there may be 55,000 lakes altogether if all the water bodies above 200 meter wide alone are counted. Total 25% of the land areas are occupied by lakes and the rest are forests. Saimaa is the largest lake that has an area of 4400 sq km. This region is locally called ‘Lampi Suomi’ meaning Finland Pond.

Nettilling Lake, Canada

nettilling lake canada

Nettilling Lake, Canada image courtesy:

It is the largest fresh water lake on an island; located in Baffin Island, Nunavut Canada. The Baffin Island is part of the Koukdjuak plains known for the rich wild life (it supports the largest goose colony in the world). This lake gets its water from several other lakes on this island including the Amadjuak Lake which is second largest in size. The Nettilling Lake is 123 km in length and has an area of about 1956 sq km; it is 132 meters in depth; its eastern part is comparatively shallower and dotted with many islands whereas the western part is deeper and devoid of islands. The Nettilling Lake is drained by River Koukdjuak in to the Foxe Basin (a shallow basin in the Hudson Bay; named after English explorer Luke Foxe).

The Aral Sea, (a tear drop on mother earth)

aral sea

The Aral Sea image courtesy:

Its story may be the most pathetic of all the lakes; steadily shrinking with increasing salinity; lake has shrunk exposing three deeper parts; all its fish and plants dead and with the fish; once flourished fishing industry also breathed its last; the Aral Sea at present remains as tear drop on mother earth.

It is located between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan two members of the former Soviet Union. Initial surface area of this lake was 68,000 sq kms; it was well fed by the waters of the great rivers and endemic plants and fish were abundant. The present surface area is about 15,000 sq km! Salinity is not the only menace; pesticides, testing of biological weapons, run off of excessive chemical fertilizers, chemical effluents from factories all reduced the sea in to a dirty salt pit.

It all started with lopsided development policies of the erstwhile Soviet Union which diverted Amu Darya and Syr Darya (the rivers that fed the lake) to irrigational purposes all worked in tandem in the making of these three ugly dead seas in the Central Asia.

The Aral Sea is not an isolated case almost all the lakes in the world are under threat of faulty development agenda of the short sighted governments and in various stages of degradation. If the Aral Sea model opens anybody’s eye it would be of immense good for the generations to come.

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