Lake Merzbacher

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Lake Merzbacher
Merzbacher Lake after Outburst.jpg
Lake Merzbacher after outburst
Coordinates42°12′N 79°52′E / 42.200°N 79.867°E / 42.200; 79.867Coordinates: 42°12′N 79°52′E / 42.200°N 79.867°E / 42.200; 79.867
Lake typeGlacier lake
Primary inflowsGlaciers
Primary outflowsEngilchek River
Basin countriesKyrgyzstan
Surface elevation3,304 metres (10,840 ft)

Lake Merzbacher is a moraine glacier lake located in east Kyrgyzstan between the north and south Engilchek Glaciers in the Tien Shan Mountains.[1] It is often called the "Disappearing Lake" because it drains every year as the ice melts, often causing a glacial lake outburst flood.[2] The lake was named after a German explorer, Gottfried Merzbacher, who led an expedition in the area in 1903.[1][3] An ice dam prevents the lake from draining through the majority of the year however when a hole finally melts through the dam the lake drains within three days.[3] When this happens, the lake's discharge can be up to 1000 m3 a second which causes destruction of infrastructure and creates major flooding downstream.[1] It goes through this cycle of appearing, expanding and then draining annually.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Bormudoi, A; Shabunin, A; Hazarika, M; Zaginaev, V; Samarakoon, L. "Studying the outburst of the Merzbacher lake of Inylchek glacier, Kyrgyzstan with Remote Sensing and field data". Retrieved 20 June 2015. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "The Merzbacher Lake". Tourist Information Center. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Curwood, Steve. "Almanac/Merzbacher Lake". Living on Earth. Retrieved 20 June 2015.