Elgygytgyn Lake

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Elgygytgyn Lake
Location Chukchi Peninsula, north-east Siberia
Coordinates 67°30′N 172°00′E / 67.500°N 172.000°E / 67.500; 172.000Coordinates: 67°30′N 172°00′E / 67.500°N 172.000°E / 67.500; 172.000
Type impact crater lake, oligotrophic
Primary outflows Enmyvaam
Catchment area 293 km²
Basin countries Russia
Max. length 12 km
Max. width 12 km
Surface area 110 km²
Location of Elgygytgyn Lake

Lake El'gygytgyn (Chukchi: Эльгыгытгын) is an impact crater lake located in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug in north-east Siberia, about 150 km southeast of Chaunskaya Bay. It is drained to the southeast by the Enmybaam branch of the Belaya River. It is approximately 12 km in diameter and has a maximum depth of 174 m +/- 2m. The lake is centered within an impact crater with a rim diameter of 18 km that formed 3.6 million years ago (Pliocene).[1]

The lake is of particular interest to scientists because it has never been covered by glaciers. This has allowed the uninterrupted build-up of 400 m of sediment at the bottom of the lake, recording information on prehistoric climate change.

In 2009, scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst drilled into the lake sediments to analyze past climates.[2]


The conditions in the El'gygytgyn lake are extremely severe for fish life. Even so there are three species permanently inhabiting the lake's harsh aquatic environment.[3] These are three types of char: Salvelinus boganidae, S. elgyticus (Small-mouth char) and Salvethymus svetovidovi (long-finned char).[4] The two latter species are endemic to the El'gygytgyn lake. The golets (Salvelinus alpinus, Russian: голец) has been introduced recently.[5]


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