To be the largest salt lake in the world, there are a few contenders. Let's take a closer look at these lakes, but each of them is unique.
1. The dead sea
Perhaps the most well-known Challenger. Although it is called the sea, this is actually the lake as it closed, i.e. has no outlet to the ocean.
The dead sea is located on the border of Israel and Jordan. The size of it is quite small:76 miles long and 18 miles wide. Its area is 810 km2, and the depth is about 370 m, and is constantly decreasing. In the Dead sea flows only one major river, the Jordan, and several small rivers and streams. For centuries, is Jordan here its waters, which are intensively evaporated the temperature seldom falls below 40°C and salt remain and accumulate. In addition to the waters of the Jordan river, the Dead sea nourishes a large number of mineral springs, spouting on its southern shore. In the result, the concentration of salts in the Dead sea is, on average, 28%, and in some places reaches 33%. For comparison, in the World ocean, the salt concentration is about 3-4%. Most fresh water ("only" 24%) in the North of the Dead sea - where it empties into the Jordan river. The farther South, the saltier the water in the lake. On the most southern tip of the drying supersaturated salt solution formed even salt pillars. One of them resembles the outlines of the female figure in a cloak and is called "Lot's wife". This name is closely associated with the biblical legend, according to which God decided to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, were found in the Dead sea area, for the fact that these cities are steeped in debauchery. God warned about the Lot of the righteous, and ordered to leave the city before its destruction, never stopping and never looking back. But the wife of the righteous, violating the prohibition of the Lord, looked back, leaving, at home, for which he was punished and turned into a pillar of salt).
A pillar of salt "Lot's wife"
Dead sea water is actually dead, as its name says: there is no fish, no algae; lifeless also its shores. Even the surface of this lake is not like water is thick, oily-looking liquid with a metallic sheen and a yellowish-white flakes salt in small places. However, it is not quite "dead": in its waters are home to various colluvia bacteria and even fungi.
The dead sea
Because such a high concentration of salts to drown in the Dead sea is impossible. It is impossible either to swim or to dive - people can only swing on the surface of the water of the Dead sea, as a float. You can easily stretch out with a book on the surface of this unique lake - thick layer of brine will not let you drown. However, it corrodes the skin, and a little scratch when getting on it this brine begins to zadniti. So bathing in the Dead sea - the lot of sun worshippers or those who do it as prescribed by the doctor - the healing properties of these waters, as well as Dead sea mud is rich in bromine, potassium, sodium and iodine, known since the time of the biblical king Herod. Dead sea water is good to treat skin and other diseases.
In the Dead sea cannot drown
The Dead sea is the lowest place on land our planet is 400 meters below sea level.
2. Lake Don Juan
On the ice continent of Antarctica, in Wright valley in Victoria land, found another lake, claiming the palm on its salinity.
The location of the lake don Juan
Called it does not after a famous womanizer, as might seem at first glance, but in honor of the people who found him in 1961 - it was the pilots don Rho and John Hickey. It is quite small. Back in 1998, it was no more than 100 m depth, length and width were respectively 1 and 0.4 km At the moment the water depth does not exceed 10 cm, and its size is 300 meters long and 100 meters wide. Water evaporates very quickly, but the lake did not dry up until the end, thanks to underwater waters. Actually, this lake is a place output ground (underground) water.
Lake don Juan - a view from space
The reason incredible the salinity of the lake, as suggested by scientists, is the high salt content in sedimentary rocks, through which the melt water from the springs that feed the lake. The air in the valley is extremely dry, and in such circumstances, the water evaporates much.
The salt content of don Juan overtakes the Dead sea - it is 40%. Due to the high concentration of salts don Juan does not freeze even at 50 degrees below zero.
Lake Don Juan
Another reason of interest of scientists to the lake is the similarity of conditions in the surrounding area with the surface of Mars. Assume that on Mars there are many lakes, like don Giovanni.
3. Lake Elton
Lake Elton (the name probably derives from the Mongolian "Altyn-Nord" - bonanza) is located in Russia, in Volgograd oblast, near the border with Kazakhstan. This is the largest mineral lake in Europe (152 km2). The depth of this amazing lake is only 5-7 cm in summer and up to 1.5 m in the spring.
Salinity waters of Elton reaches 200-500 g/l, which is one and a half times greater than that of the Dead sea. Up to 1882 there were mining salt. In 1910 on the shores of lake Elton was built as a sanatorium. Since 2001, the lake Elton is part of the natural Park "Elenski".
The shape of the lake is almost circular. It lies in a hollow between large salt domes and have no flow. Nourishes his 7 rivers, and at the bottom are the outputs salty springs. The climate in the region of Elton dry, with frequent strong winds. The level of lake Elton is 15 m below sea level.
Views of the lake Elton from space
The waters of lake Elton have a reddish tint, which gives him the bacteria species Dunaliella salina.
4. Lake Baskunchak
Lake Baskunchak is located near lake Elton - Ahtubinsk district of the Astrakhan region (Russia).
Lake Elton and Baskunchak (Google Map)
Its salinity reaches 37% (370 g/l). This unique water body with an area of 100 km2 is a recess on the top of the salt mountain, leaving the base on thousands of meters into the ground and covered with a layer of sedimentary rocks.
The power of the lake is mainly due to the sources. Baskunchak salt is extremely pure (99.8 per cent), "ice", the NaCl - table salt. That's why we have produced 80% of all salt in the Russian Federation, for which he was nicknamed "the Russian salt shaker". And to make salt here began in the eighth century. The depth of occurrence of salt in the lake is 6 km away, and many springs, which flow into it, daily replenish her stock of more than 2.5 thousand tons, so that the salt deposits here almost inexhaustible
In some places the lake Baskunchak buried special
wooden stumps - point crystallization of salt.
Photo of lake Baskunchak
Almost all the surface of the lake is covered with salt, and it can walk.
The air at the lake Baskunchak with high bromine content and volatile, and its +silt mud has healing effect, which is indeed able to assess local guests of the sanatorium-dispensary "Baskunchak", located on the shore of the lake.
Swimming in the lake Baskunchak