Chott el Djerid
|Chott el Djerid|
|Type||Salt lake, endorheic basin|
|Primary outflows||terminal Evaporation|
|Max. length||250 km (160 mi)|
|Max. width||20 km (12 mi)|
|Surface area||7,000 km2 (2,700 sq mi)|
|Surface elevation||+10–25 m (33–82 ft)|
|Designated||7 November 2007|
Chott el Djerid (Arabic: شط الجريد Šoṭṭ el-Jarīd) also spelled Sciott Gerid and Shott el Jerid, is a large endorheic salt lake in southern Tunisia. The name can be translated from the Arabic into English as "Lagoon of the Land of Palms".
The bottom of Chott el Djerid is located between 10 and 25 meters (about 30 to 80 feet) below sea level. The lake's width varies widely; at its narrowest point, it is only 20 km (12 mi) across, compared to its overall length of 250 km (160 mi). At times, parts of it appear in various shades of white, green and purple. The narrow eastward inlet of the chott is also known as Chott el Fejej.
It is the largest salt pan of the Sahara Desert, with a surface area of over 7,000 km2 (some sources state 5,000 km2). The site has a typical hot desert climate. Due to the harsh climate with mean annual rainfall of below 100 mm and daytime temperatures sometimes reaching 50 °C (122 °F) or more during summer with dense solar radiation, water evaporates from the lake. In summer Chott el Djerid is almost entirely dried up, and numerous fata morganas occur. Situated at 33 ° 42'N 8 ° 26'E in the center-west of the country, between the cities of Tozeur and Kebili.
Because the flooded area is very variable, values presented for the area of the lake (or its basin, which is almost always dry), can vary widely. Some sources provide values as high as 10,000 km². Similarly, figures given for altitude vary between 10 meters above and 25 meters below sea level.
The lake can be crossed by foot and even by car, but this is very dangerous since the salt crust is not always firm.
During winter, when the lake is full, it can be crossed by boat. Piles of salt at its edges are collected for salt production processing.
Relict populations of the West African crocodile persisted in the Chott el Djerid until the early 20th century. Pink flamingos have been known to use the shores of the lake as nesting sites in springtime.
Chott el Djerid is the namesake of the Jerid Lacuna an Endorheic hydrocarbon lake on the Saturnian moon Titan. That lake is located 66.7°N and 221°W on Titan's globe and involves liquid methane and ethane, instead of water.
In popular culture
The lake is the setting of Frank Heller's book The Thousand and Second Night, An Arabesque.
The Chotts are also discussed in Fountains in the Sand, by Norman Douglas. His account is both scientific and historic.
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- Herodotus iv,180. Cf. Lake Tritonis.
Media related to Chott el Djerid at Wikimedia Commons