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Lake Tuz. Turkey

Lake Tuz is considered to be the second largest lake in Turkey. Ancient Greeks called this lake “Phrygian sea.” Water reservoir with size of 50 by 80 kilometers and depth of only 1-2 meters is filled with very salty water. Its Turkish name sounds like Tuz Golu which can be translated as salt lake. It is located on the Anatolian Plateau at an altitude of 900 meters above sea level, to be precise, 105 kilometers north-east of Konya and 150 km south-east of Ankara.

Almost 70% of salt of the country are produced here. The salinity of the lake is 340 per mille. Thus, if we take the water from this lake weighing of 1 kg, 340 g of the total weight will be a salt. These numbers exceed the salinity of the Dead Sea! So it’s recognized  as one of the largest hypersaline lakes in the world. The lake is fed by underground springs and rainfall; no rivers meet it. Therefore, Tuz is greatly reduced in summer season. This is the result of water evaporation. Lake becomes covered with salt crust. Its thickness ranges from 30 centimeters to half a meter, so you can safely move on the surface as on the ice. However, due to the winter and spring precipitation, the Lake Tuz got its unique ability to overflow, thereby increasing its volume by several times. The salt is dissolved in fresh water, and the Lake Tuz becomes affluent again.

However, the lake doesn’t always look like this. Due to the seasonal changes, every summer, the lake acquires an ominous red color. The fact that the Lake Tuz, like most saline lakes, is home to the halophile bacteria, including – microalgae Dunaliella. It grows uncontrollably when it is not eaten by plankton. Plankton dies massively because of the annual fluctuations of water level in the reservoir. When it decreases, the percentage of salt in the water also changes. At high salinity and light intensity these organisms (Dunaliella) give the water such shade. Because of the production of carotenoids in protecting cells a special pigment colors the lake water into red. With the onset of cold weather and precipitation the water level rises, and the process is reversed – plankton grows again. So, each summer, scientists soothe that this phenomenon is not an omen of the coming apocalypse.

Tourists like to come here to enjoy a unique spectacle and a walk on the solid surface of frozen lake. You can also watch the large flocks of beautiful birds. You can see such beautiful birds as the little bustard, gray crane, avocet, montagu’s harrier, bustard, white-fronted goose, plover, lesser kestrel; in addition, large colonies of large flamingo.

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