Karakul (Tajikistan)

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Kara-kul lake.jpg
Location Pamir Mountains
Coordinates 39°1′N 73°27′E / 39.017°N 73.450°E / 39.017; 73.450Coordinates: 39°1′N 73°27′E / 39.017°N 73.450°E / 39.017; 73.450
Type impact crater lake, endorheic
Primary outflows none
Basin countries Tajikistan
Max. width 52 km (32 mi)[citation needed]
Surface area 380 km2 (150 sq mi)
Max. depth 230 m (750 ft)
Surface elevation 3,900 m (12,800 ft)

Karakul/Qarokul or more accurately, Siob (Tajik for "black lake" or "black water"), is a 25 km (16 mi) diameter lake [1] in the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan. It lies within the Tajik National Park.


Karakul lake Tajikistan
Gutman Karakul lake

The lake lies at an elevation of 3,960 m (12,990 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 on the eastern shore of the lake.[2]


Although the lake lies within a national park, much of the surroundings 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.[2]


Higher than Lake Titicaca, Karakul hosted the Roof of the World Regatta for the first time in September 2014. This replaced the Alpine Bank Dillon Open, held on the Dillon Reservoir in Summit County, Colorado, as being the highest sailing regatta in the world.[citation needed]

Impact crater[edit]

Siob/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,[3] or less than 5 million years ago.[4] The Karakul impact structure remained unidentified until it was discovered through studies of imagery taken from space.


The lake was named after Queen Victoria by the British until the 1920s when it was renamed The Black Lake, Karakul.


  1. ^ "Kara-Kul Structure, Tajikistan". 
  2. ^ a b "Karakul lake and mountains". Important Bird Areas factsheet. BirdLife International. 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  3. ^ "Kara-Kul Structure, Tajikistan". NASA Earth Observatory. Retrieved 2006-05-25. .
  4. ^ "Kara-Kul". Earth Impact Database. University of New Brunswick. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 

External links[edit]

"Qarakul Lake". Information Portal Tourism in Tajikistan. Retrieved 2012-03-06.