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Term Lake

A great body of water surrounded by land and usually located in a depression. Lakes are generally filled with fresh water that is stagnant or has little flow. Likewise, lakes are not directly connected to the sea.

Natural lakes are formed in various ways: when a river changes its course; when ice melts and forms a lake in a valley; by faults or breakages; by volcanic or glacial activity; by chemical degradation; or by the action of the wind. There are also artificial lakes.

The largest lakes in the world are the Caspian Sea and Lakes Superior in North America and Victoria in Africa, respectively. The Dead Sea is the lake at the lowest altitude, 395 meters below sea level. The Caspian Sea, the largest brackish water lake in the world, covers a surface area of 383,897 square kilometers. The freshwater lake Baikal in Russia is the deepest, with a maximum depth of 1,741 meters.

In the Western part of the Dominican Republic is Lake Enriquillo, the largest body of lentic water in the Central Caribbean. It covers an area of 265 km2 at an altitude between 30 and 40 meters below sea level, and has a salinity level three times greater than that of the sea, despite the fact that many fresh water springs flow into it. This salinity is due to the high concentration of salt on the lake bed. Additionally, the water that evaporates in the form of rain is greater than the amount that falls. The lake is a protected area that belongs to the Lake Enriquillo National Park and Cabritos Island. This park, along with that of Sierra de Bahoruco and Jaragua, comprises the Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve, declared as such by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on November 6, 2002,1 , 2 thanks to its unique geomorphologic characteristics and biodiversity.

The country also has artificial lakes product of the dammed waters in reservoirs, such as the lake of the Hatillo Dam, the lake of the Tavera Baez-La Angostura Dam and that of the Sabana Yegua Dam.1, 2

1OEA (Organización de Estados Americanos). Secretaría General. Reconocimiento y Evaluación de los Recursos Naturales de la República Dominicana: Estudio para su Desarrollo y Planificación: Washington, D.C., 1967.

2Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales.

<> (Consulta: 22 marzo 2011)


Additional Information
PhotoLago Enriquillo, Isla Cabritos
Topic  BiodiversityResources coastal / marine