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Russia is rich in unique places that can hardly be called natural wonders. One of these natural wonders is a complex of 5 karst reservoirs located in the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic - Blue Lakes. This landmark is located within the boundaries of a specially protected natural zone with an area of 147.6 hectares, which was created to preserve its uniqueness back in 1978. Despite the fact that all five lakes are located relatively close to each other and are considered parts of one natural complex, each of them is unique in its own way.
Upper Blue LakesThe Upper Blue Lakes are by nature one body of water with a dam, dividing it into 2 parts. These are relatively shallow fresh water bodies (17-18 meters), water reserves in which are replenished due to atmospheric precipitation, as well as groundwater and springs at their bottom. Therefore, the water level in lakes is subject to fluctuations depending on the season. In its structure, this communicating reservoir resembles a bowl or bowl. Its shores are quite low and gentle, and the deepest lake is in its central part.
The Upper Blue Lakes are very popular with amateur anglers. After all, they are inhabited by a large number of species of underwater fauna, including valuable fish species such as carp, carp, grass carp and trout. On the shores of the reservoir, rare species of shrubs and trees grow, and the entire infrastructure for recreation and fishing is organized: a tourist base, a cafe and a beach.
Secret lakeThe very name of this reservoir speaks for itself: the lake is well hidden in the thickets and it is not so easy to find the reservoir. It is located about 300 meters from the Verkhnegolubye Lakes. The height relative to sea level is just over 900 meters. Like other bodies of water in this group, the Secret Lake is of karst origin.
The water level in the lake is constant regardless of the amount of precipitation or the seasons. The reservoir, the maximum depth of which is 21 meters, is completely isolated from other lakes and has no natural surface runoff. It feeds on underground springs. In summer, the average water temperature is + 17 … + 18 ° C, and in winter, the surface of the lake is frozen.
Dry lakeThe smallest and most inaccessible of all the Blue Lakes is Lake Sukhoye, or as the locals call it, Kel-Ketchkhen. Translated from Kabardian, it means “the lake has flowed under the bridge”. The reservoir received this name due to the fact that local legends mention its former high water. But at some time, for some unknown reason, the water from this lake flowed through underground cracks into the Lower Blue Lake.
At present, the depth of the Dry Lake is no more than 5 meters. However, it is possible to admire the water surface, the area of which is 2.5 thousand square meters, in the immediate vicinity only by using special climbing equipment. Now the basin of the reservoir is a rather deep (more than 170 m) karst depression, the walls of which are almost vertical. Such conditions have contributed to the fact that nowadays fans of rope jumping are gathering on the Dry Lake and competitions in this extreme sport are held.
Lower Blue LakeThe largest of all the lakes of the complex, Nizhnee Goluboe, or Tserik-Kel, is also the largest karst reservoir in Russia. If we talk about the structure and structure of this lake, then it is a colossal well with almost straight sheer walls. The total area of the "water mirror" of the Lower Blue Lake, located 809 meters above the world ocean level, is 21 thousand 600 square meters.
Translated from the Balkar language, the name of the reservoir is Tserik-Kel, which means “foul-smelling lake” or “rotten lake”. This describes the body of water as accurately as possible, from which the unpleasant smell of rotten eggs really emanates. Hydrogen sulfide dissolved in its water gives this “aroma” to the Lower Blue Lake. The presence of high concentrations of this element not only gives the lake a pronounced blue color, but also makes it impossible for ordinary freshwater fauna to live in it.
However, Tserik-Kel cannot be called a completely “dead reservoir”: several species of algae and mosses grow under the water. Also in the Lower Lake, its only animal flourishes - the freshwater crustacean gammarus. Which feeds on underwater vegetation.
As for the depth of this lake, it has not yet been precisely established. Despite dozens of expeditions that have visited Tserik-Kel. At one time, the world-famous explorer of the underwater world Jacques-Yves Cousteau also visited the Lower Blue Lake. However, he also failed to fully explore all the depths and secrets of this reservoir.
Features and secrets of the Lower Blue LakeToday, the official depth of the lake is 368 meters. However, this value refers to the first scarp at the bottom of Tserik-Kel. This means that the maximum depth, which scientists have not yet determined, may be an order of magnitude greater.
Lower Blue Lake is surprising in that its crystal clear waters (transparency is more than 20 meters) never freeze. All year round, the water temperature in Tserik-Kele is just over + 9 ° C. As for the shade of the surface of the reservoir, it can change depending on the weather: from gentle blue on a clear sunny day to azure on a cloudy day.
The level and volume of water in the Lower Lake, as well as its temperature, also remain unchanged throughout the year. This is one of the mysteries of the reservoir. After all, every hour 3,240 cubic meters of water naturally flows out of the lake. At the same time, not a single river or even a stream flows into Tserik-Kel.
There are 2 versions of replenishing the lake with water. According to the first, the reservoir is fed by groundwater. This happens through a complex system of deep-water tunnels and caves. In the same place, the water is enriched with hydrogen sulfide. According to another version, the Lower Blue Lake can be communicated with the waters of the world's oceans. And natural natural filters turn into fresh salty ocean water: minerals, stones, soil and rocks.
These secrets and mysteries, as well as the beauty of the natural complex Blue Lakes of Kabardino-Balkaria, make this place desirable for visiting both ordinary or extreme tourists, as well as nature lovers and scientists. After all, these reservoirs, like many other places on Earth, still keep secrets. Secrets that they are ready to reveal to everyone who loves and knows how to learn about the world around them.
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