|Type||impact crater lake, endorheic|
|Max. width||52 km (32 mi)|
|Surface area||380 km2 (150 sq mi)|
|Max. depth||230 m (750 ft)|
|Surface elevation||3,900 m (12,800 ft)|
Karakul or Qarokul (Tajik: Қарoкул, "Black Lake"), is a 52 km (32 mi) diameter lake in the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan. It lies within the Tajik National Park. It was known as Lake Victoria in the 19th and early 20th centuries: It was named after Queen Victoria of Britain who was the grand mother to the last Czar of Russia as well. (To avoid confusion with the much larger Lake Victoria in Africa, this one was known as the “Lake Victoria in the Pamirs”.) The name was changed with the advent of the Soviet system in the 1920s.
The lake lies at an altitude of 3,900 m (12,800 ft) above mean sea level. A peninsula projecting from the south shore and an island off the north shore divide the lake into two basins: a smaller, relatively shallow eastern one, between 13 to 19 m (43 to 62 ft) deep, and a larger western one, 221 to 230 m (725 to 755 ft) deep. It is endorheic (lacking a drainage outlet) and the water is brackish. There is a small village with the same name as the lake.
Although the lake lies within a national park, much of the surrounds are used as pasture. The lake, with its islands, marshes, wet meadows, peat bogs, and pebbly and sandy plains, has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it supports significant numbers of the populations of various bird species, either as residents, or as breeding or passage migrants. These include Bar-headed Geese, Ruddy Shelducks, Common Mergansers, Saker Falcons, Himalayan Vultures, Lesser Sand Plovers, Brown-headed Gulls, Tibetan Sandgrouse, Yellow-billed Choughs, White-tailed Rubythroats, White-winged Redstarts, White-winged Snowfinches, Rufous-streaked Accentors, Brown Accentors, Black-headed Mountain-finches and Caucasian Great Rosefinches. The lake's islands are the main places where waterbirds rest and nest. The only fish in the lake is a species of stone loach.
Karakul lies within a circular depression interpreted as a meteorite impact crater with a rim diameter of 52 km (32 mi). The impact event is estimated to have occurred about 25 million years ago, or less than 5 million years ago. The Karakul impact structure remained unidentified until it was discovered through studies of imagery taken from space.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Karakul (Tajikistan).|
"Qarakul Lake". Information Portal Tourism in Tajikistan. Retrieved 2012-03-06.