Tuesday, August 25, 2009

( Nice nature pictures ) 10 Highest Lakes on Earth

When people talk about three quarters of the world’s surface being covered in water, you don’t generally think of it being 20,000 ft above sea level. Yet, some of the highest lakes in the world can be found hidden in the cracks and crevasses of mountain valleys, among some of the highest peaks in the world, making for spectacular imagery.

We compiled a list of some of the highest lakes on Earth, with pics. In addition we’ve provided a list of the actual highest at the end of the article. Enjoy!

10. Lake Saiful-Muluk: 3,224 m (10,577 ft)

To the north of Kaghan Valley near Naran, in Pakistan, sits the impressive Lake Saiful-Muluk. At an altitude of 3,224 m (10,577 ft) above sea level, this glacial lake is one of the highest in Pakistan, and judging by the vibrant colors captured in these images, certainly one of the most beautiful.

The surrounding glaciers feed the lake, so the size of it is dependent on snow fall from the previous season. Some say it has shrunk quite considerably in recent years, but it hasn’t stopped locals travelling to the site to have a quick dip on sunny days – well it would have to be quick!

9. Lake Titicaca: 3,812 m (12,464 ft)

Otherwise known as Lake of the Clouds, Titicaca in Bolivia and Peru sits at an altitude of 3,812 m (12,464 ft), and while it is not the highest lake on Earth – which it’s often mistaken for – it certainly is the highest navigable lake (by large boats). In some parts, the lake is more than 1,200 feet deep so can easily accommodate large vessels, and with an area of about 3,200 square miles to cover, they’re very much needed.

The name Titicaca derives from the wildcats that live on the lake’s islands, called titi. Titicaca was a sacred place for the Inca civilization. The first Inca king was said to be born here and according to Inca mythology, Titicaca is where the world was created, by the god Viracocha. Legend has it that Viracocha rose from the depths of the lake to form the sun, the stars and the first people. The area is still very dear to its inhabitants today, especially the Uros people, who live on the lake on floating islands made of reeds.

8. Laguna Colorada: 4,500 m (14,763 ft)

Laguna Colorada lies to the southwest of the Bolivian Altiplano, near the border Chile, and sits at 4,500 meters (14,763ft) above sea level. The lake’s striking colors change according to the levels of salt, sediments or algae present, although the lake is best known for its dark red color. Found within Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, the lake is a favorite feeding ground with migrating flamingos that stop by to gorge in the shallow, borax rich waters. It is this mineral borax, a white powder that dissolves easily in water, which produces the lake’s signature white patches.

Part of Uyuni Salt Plains, Laguna Colorada is just one highlight of many popular with trekkers to the Bolivian Altiplano. Here there is only one building, the Salt Hotel, which is constructed entirely of salt from the surrounding area and features salt figurines and salt furniture

7. Lake Tso Moriri: 4,595 (15,080 ft)

Tsomoriri Lake, within Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve in Ladakh, India lies on the Changthang (northern plains) at an altitude of 4,595 m (15,080 ft). It is one of the largest lakes in the Trans-himalayan region and is accessible during the summer months only – the area is cut off by heavy snows for the remainder of the year. The lie of the land means that the melting waters of surrounding snow-covered mountains flow into the Changthang basin, forming a fresh-water lake which is topped up with every melt.

6. Lake Namtso: 4,718 m (15,479 ft)

Otherwise known as Heaven Lake, Namtso sits at an elevation of 4,718 m (15,479 ft) on the border of China and Tibet. It is the highest salt lake in the world and the second largest salt lake in Tibet. The climate is harsh with frequent sudden snowstorms yet the lake is still very popular with migrating and resident birds.

Five uninhabited islands on the lake were once used as spiritual retreats. Pilgrims would access the islands when the lake was frozen over in the winter months, taking everything they would need to survive. They would be stranded on the island, unable to leave until the waters froze again the following winter. Since China governs Tibet the practice is no longer allowed. Though the lake is still a scared site, which is evident in the numerous prayer flags leading to and from Holy Rock on the edge of the lake.

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