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Green Waters and Salty Shores of Lake Urmia, Iran

37.6N 45.4E

May 21st, 2009 Category: Lakes

Lake Urmia, Iran - May 14th, 2009

Lake Urmia, Iran - May 14th, 2009

Lake Urmia is a salt lake in northwestern Iran near Turkey. The lake is between the provinces of East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan, west of the southern portion of the similarly shaped Caspian Sea.

It is the largest lake in Iran, and the second largest salt water lake on earth, with a surface area of approximately 5,200 km² (2,000 miles²).

At its maximum extent, it is about 140 km (87 miles) long, and 55 km (34 miles) wide. Its deepest point is approximately 16 m (52 ft) deep.

The lake lies in the bottom of the large central depression of the Azerbaijan region in northwestern Iran, at an elevation of 4,183 feet (1,275 m) above sea level.

The basin is surrounded by mountains in the west and north, by plateaus in the south, and by plateaus and volcanic cones in the east.

There is a cluster of about 50 tiny islands in the southern portion of the lake. The waters of the lake are green in color due to copious algae that provide food for brine shrimp.

The shoreline varies with the lake level; when the water is high, it extends into large salt marshes to the east and south. Here, these salt marshes appear whitish as they are not covered by water.

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