Rivers Draining into Lake Balqash, Kazakhstan – September 11th, 200946.5N 75.0E
The waters of Lake Balqash, in southeastern Kazakhstan, appear bright turquoise. It is the second largest lake in Central Asia after the Aral Sea, and it is part of the same endorheic basin as the Caspian and Aral seas.
The two close-ups focus on the eastern and western ends of the lake. The western half of the lake is fresh water, while the eastern half is saline. The eastern half is also almost twice as deep.
The close-up of the western end also shows the Ili River, the chief river of the seven that drain into Lake Balqash. The Ili is fed from precipitation (largely vernal snowmelt) from the mountains of China’s Xinjiang region. It is 1,439 km (894 mi) long, 815 km (506 mi) of which are in Kazakhstan. Flowing into Lake Balqash it forms a large delta with vast wetland regions of lakes, marshes and jungle-like vegetation.
The close-up of the eastern end, on the other hand, shows (from left to right) the Karatal, Aksu and Lepsi Rivers draining into Lake Balqash. The Karatal is the second-largest of the rivers that empty into the lake. It rises in the Dzungarian Alatau Mountains near the border of Kazakhstan and China.