Lake Issyk Kul Size report

Lake Issyk Kul is located in Kyrgyzstan and belongs to the northern part of the Tianshan Mountains. As a non-frozen lake, the lake water is clear and blue all year round, and it is known as "the pearl left by God." There is a well-known proverb in Kyrgyzstan, "You haven't been to Kyrgyzstan if you haven't been to Lake Issyk Kul."

Lake Issyk Kul is the deepest alpine lake in the world, formed by the collapse of the earth's crust. The Issyk Kul Basin is surrounded by mountains, with Kung Mountains in the north, the highest peak at 4,770 meters above sea level, Tereske Mountains in the south, with the highest peak at 5,216 meters above sea level, and the alpine glacier area is about 650.4 square kilometers.

Because Lake Issyk Kul does not freeze in winter, the locals call it a " hot lake, " and the scenery is very beautiful. In history, Xuanzang, a monk in the Tang Dynasty in China, passed by when he traveled westward and left the earliest record of Lake Issyk-Kul in the world.

Lake Issyk Kul Introduction

Lake Issyk Kul is located in the closed inter-mountain basin between Kyrgyzstan and the northern slope of the Tianshan Mountains in China. It is the largest lake in the country in terms of area and water volume, accounting for 91% and 97% of the country's total. Such a large water volume is one of the reasons why Lake Ke does not freeze. Lake Issyk Kul is in arid and semi-arid areas, with less precipitation and high evaporation, resulting in the lake being salty water. The salinity of Lake Issyk Kul is about 0.58%, and the salty water has a lower freezing point and is less likely to freeze in winter.

Lake Issyk Kul is a closed inland lake with no outlet. The annual surface water supply is about 13×108 cubic meters, the recharge of precipitation and groundwater is 330 mm, and the evaporation of the lake is 820 mm. There are 118 large and small rivers in the Issyk-Kul Lake basin, which is also an important grain-producing and livestock-raising area in Kyrgyzstan.

Lake Issyk Kul Size

  • Lake Issyk Kul is located near 77. 33°E, 42.42°N. The average elevation of the lake is 1607.4 meters.
  • It has a length of 182 kilometers (113 miles) from east to west, a width of 61 kilometers (38 miles) from north to south, and a surface area of 6,280 square km (2,425 square miles).
  • The lake shoreline has a circumference of about 669 kilometers, an average depth of 280 meters (920 feet), and a maximum depth of 702 meters (2,303 feet).
  • Lake Issyk Kul is surrounded by mountains on all sides and provides most of the water in the 15,844 square kilometers catchment area, and it has a water volume of 1,738 cubic kilometers (417 cubic miles).
Quick Facts
Max. length
182 km (113 mi)
Max. width
61 km (38 mi)
Surface area
6,280 sq km (2,425 sq mi)
Catchment area
15,844 sq km (6,117 sq mi)
Average depth
280 m (90 ft)
Max. depth
702 m (2,303 ft)
Water volume
1,738 cubic km (417 cubic mi)

Climate And Hydrology

Lake Issyk Kul is located in the mid-latitude temperate zone, and with a high altitude, the average monthly temperature in the coldest month is about -6°C. Generally speaking, the lake surface of Lake Issyk Kul should have a long freezing period. However, the waters of Lake Issyk Kul do not freeze all year round. The main reasons are water volume and salinity, respectively. We know that the specific heat capacity of the water body is large, and the heating and cooling are relatively slow. In winter, the water temperature falls much slower than the surrounding land. If the water volume of a lake is very large, the cooling rate will be slower.

Natural Resources

The shores of Lake Issyk-Kul are flat, and the soil is mainly sandy. The lake has a visibility of 20 meters (65 feet), and it is not suitable for drinking and irrigation because of its high mineral content. Still, it is used for livestock drinking without desalination. The western part of the basin is a desert of overlapping rocks with some salty subshrubs, steppes, and meadows to the east and sub-alpine and alpine meadows on the mountain.

More than 20 species of fish are in the lake, and about 40 species of mammals and 200 species of birds inhabit the lake area. The east and west lake shores are where waterfowl spend their winters. The wintering birds include pochards, mallards, bald webbed chickens, and teals. The Lake Issyk-Kul Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1948, and hunting is prohibited in the 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) lakeshore area.

Final Words

The Lake Issyk-Kul area has a mild climate, clear water, fresh air, abundant sunshine, and lush woodlands. It is a famous tourist resort and health resort in Kyrgyzstan. The wellness area centered in the lakeside city of Lebachie is equipped with mud baths, mineral baths, and other facilities. The income from the tourist season has become one of the important economic sources for Issyk-Kul State and even Kyrgyzstan.


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