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Wetlands of the Tonlé Sap, Cambodia – October 30th, 2011

12.9N 104.0E

October 30th, 2011 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

Cambodia - October 29th, 2011

The Tonlé Sap, visible as a light green area in the center of this image, is a combined lake and river system of major importance to Cambodia. It is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and an ecological hot spot that was designated as a UNESCO biosphere in 1997.

The Tonlé Sap is unusual for two reasons: its flow changes direction twice a year, and the portion that forms the lake expands and shrinks dramatically with the seasons. From November to May, Cambodia’s dry season, the Tonlé Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. However, when the year’s heavy rains begin in June, the Tonlé Sap backs up to form an enormous lake.

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