Lake Khövsgöl

Lake Khövsgöl

Infobox lake
lake_name = Lake Khövsgöl
image_lake = khuvsgul.jpg
caption_lake =
image_bathymetry =
caption_bathymetry =
location =
coords = coord|51|06|N|100|30|E|type:waterbody_region:MN|display=inline,title
type = Rift lake
inflow =
outflow = Egiin Gol
catchment =
basin_countries = Mongolia
length = 136 km
width = 36.5 km
area = 2760 km²
depth = 138 m
max-depth = 267 m
volume = 380.7 km³
residence_time =
shore =
elevation = 1,645 m
islands = Modon khüi, Khadan khüi, Modot tolgoi, Baga khüi
cities = Khatgal, Khankh

Lake Khövsgöl ( _mn. Хөвсгөл нуур, "Khövsgöl nuur", .


Khövsgöl nuur is located in the northwest of Mongolia near the border to Russia, at the foot of the eastern Sayan Mountains. It is 1,645 m above sea level, 136 km long and 262 m deep. It holds almost 70% of Mongolia's fresh water and 0.4% of all the fresh water in the world. [cite web
title=The Aquatic Invertebrates of the watershed of Lake Hovsgol in northern Mongolia
publisher=Institute for Mongolia Research Guide

Its watershed is relatively small, and it only has small tributaries. It gets drained at the south end by the Egiin Gol, which connects to the Selenge and ultimately into Lake Baikal. In between, the water travels a distance of more than 1,000 km, and a height difference of 1,169 m, although the line-of-sight distance is only about 200 km. Its location in northern Mongolia helps form the southern border of the great Siberian taiga forest, of which the dominant tree is the Siberian Larch (Larix sibirica),

The lake is surrounded by several mountain ranges. The highest mountain is the Munku Sardyk (3,492 m), which has its peak north of the lake exactly on the Russian-Mongolian border. The surface of the lake freezes over completely in winter. The ice cover gets strong enough to carry heavy trucks, so that transport routes were installed on its surface as shortcuts to the normal roads. However, this practice is now forbidden, to prevent pollution of the lake from both oil leaks and trucks breaking through the ice. It is estimated that 30-40 cars have sunk into the lake over the years.

Ecological significance

Khövsgöl is one of seventeen "ancient lakes" worldwide more than 2 million years old and the most pristine (apart from Lake Vostok). [ [ "lake Hovsgol"] , retrieved 2007-02-27] [Goulden, Clyde E. et al.: [ "The Mongolian LTER: Hovsgol National Park"] , retrieved 2007-02-27] and is the most significant drinking water reserve of Mongolia. Its water is potable without any treatment and offers good living conditions for many types of fish.

The Lake area is a National Park bigger than Yellowstone and strictly protected as a transition zone between Central Asian Steppe and Siberian Taiga. The lake is traditionally considered sacred in a land suffering from arid conditions where most lakes are salty.

The Park is home to a variety of wildlife such as ibex, argali, elk, wolf, wolverine, musk deer, brown bear, Siberian moose and sable.

Etymology and transliterations

The name "Khövsgöl" is derived from the turkic words for "Blue Water Lake". [ [ "Hovsgol Travel"] ] . "Nuur" is the mongolian word for "lake". There are a number of different transscription variants, depending on whether the cyrillic "х" is transliterated to "h" or "kh", or whether the "ө" is transliterated to "ö", "o", or "u". Transscriptions from the name in the classical Mongolian script, like Hubsugul, Khubsugul etc. may also be seen.

ee also

*Lake Baikal
*Uvs Nuur


External links

* [ Trek Earth Photo]
* [ Blog entry] with pictures
* [ Another blog] with pictures
* [ Photo album]
* New York Times [ article] about kayaking on Khövsgöl
* []
* [ Limnological Catalog of Mongolian Lakes]
* [ Pictures] at Wikimedia Commons

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