Talk:Endorheic basin

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Terminal Lake deserves its own entry[edit]

Terminal lake now refers to endorheic basin, but a basin is not a lake. A lake can be found in the bottom of a drainage basin, but they are not one and the same. Furthermore, the term terminal lake is easily a factor hundred thousand or more widespread and known than endorheic lake, so the choice of principal word seems somewhat odd for me as a geographer. -- 21:25, 11 November 2007 (UTC)


copied from Wikipedia:Reference desk by Finlay McWalter

Hey latin-speakers. If my (google-based) latin is correct, "endo-rheic" means roughly "acid inside", yet an endorheic lake is invariably alkaline. Does rheic really mean "caustic" rather than "acidic", or am I missing something? -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 23:21, 26 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Well, your basic problem is that endorheic is Greek rather than Latin, and means something like "flowing in" because they have no outlet to the sea. I don't think it has any relationship to pH. Alteripse 00:01, 27 Jun 2004 (UTC)

"relating to or characterized by interior drainage, i.e., the condition of a region in which little or none of the surface drainage reaches the sea" --Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary Unabridged on CD-ROM. --Gelu Ignisque
The roots are Greek endo-, "inside" (maybe from en, "in," + domos, "house"); rhein, "to flow"; and the English combining form -ic, from French -ique, partially from Latin -icus and partially from Greek -ikos.

Largest system[edit]

Our article in Lake Eyre Basin says its the world's largest inland basin, but my understanding is that the central asian basin that includes the Caspian and Aral seas much surely be larger. As finding ordered lists of the lakes is easy, but information about the basins is hard, I removed the claim in this article about the Eyre basin, but didn't assert anything about the asian one. Hopefully someone can figure out which is the case (and ideally find some numbers to back it up). -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 23:54, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Tannin reverted the claim about the Lake Eyre Basin being the largest, and the same claim is present on the Lake Eyre Basin itself. Is the claim true? Sivamo 00:52, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)
If the Lake Eyre Basin drains 1.2 million square kilometers (as wikipedia says), I don't see how it can be the largest. The Volga system drains more than that (according to something I see on the Internet :)), and the drainage system involving the Caspian Sea must be at least as large as the drainage system of the Volga, I think :) Also, I suspect that the Aral drainage system is even larger than that of the Caspian drainage system. The Amu alone contributes several hundred thousand square kilometers. I'll guess 2 million square kilometers for the Aral drainage system? Sivamo 01:02, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Moreover, Tarim Basin (and lots of Chinese web resources) claim it is the largest basin. This page says "Covering five per cent of the total area of China, the Tarim Basin...". If one takes the area of "China" to be that described in People's Republic of China (yeah, I know, not necessarily the same thing, but still) that would make Tarim about 480,000 square kilometers. I think both Eyre and Tarim should cite a reliable source before making a claim to be the biggest. Searching on the Internet isn't terribly definitive - the world, it seems, is full of lake-size-nationalists. - Lakeman
Based on data at the Aral Sea basen is 1.3 million sq. km. so I'm going to remove Lake Eyre's claim. Kmusser 20:12, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Was the Mediterranean Sea ever closed at Gibraltar? If so, was it an endorheic lake? -- SGBailey 15:30, 2005 Feb 8 (UTC)

Yes, it was, several times over the past four million years. It even dried up substantially, though maybe (probably?) not completely. There are still salt deposites on the floor of the Med from when that happened. At that time there were four independent ocean basins in the world: the Ocean Sea, Med, Black, & Caspian. kwami 01:15, 2005 Jun 18 (UTC)

What about Africa?[edit]

I think some of the African Rift Valley Lakes are also endorheic and should be mentioned here. Right? richarddd

Lake Turkana is already mentioned. All the other major Rift Valley lakes have outlets - Tanganyika via the Congo, Malawi via the Shire, Albert via the Nile, Kivu connects to Tanganyika... Not sure about Rukwa, that might qualify. But since the main ones don't qualify, it definitely doesn't need its own section. Aapold (talk) 15:40, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
Naturally there are many endorheic systems in Africa, but I don't know of a terribly reliable source of hydrological information. There are numerous (small, I think) endorheic basins in the Sahara, there's much of the Etosha National Park, and as you say the rift valley lakes seem to be endorheic too (from reading their article). Ideally I'd have a decent reference about the drainage basins of africa - in particular because I guess those lakes are probably part of a larger inland basin system. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 10:33, July 17, 2005 (UTC)

Utah's Great Salt Lake[edit]

Isn't Utah's Great Salt Lake considered one two?

Yes, and its already mentioned in the article. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 10:28, July 17, 2005 (UTC)

Caspian Ocean[edit]

By what definition of ocean is the Caspian Sea "actually a small ocean"? Just because it's saltwater? --Angr 17:50, 25 January 2006 (UTC)

  • It's not. I've heard this from numerous people before who just can't grasp the idea of a large, saline lake. Unless someone provides some strong evidence, I'm going to delete this. (And a couple of weirdo web citations won't do--it must be a cite indicating the sentiments of serious geographers.) Unschool 14:20, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Article Name[edit]


Shouldn't this article be at Endorheic basin since that it was it is about? Endorheic seems odd as an article namefor te topic since it technically is an adjective. Eluchil404 22:24, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes it should. I'll fix it. —Pengo 03:26, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Zeller See[edit]

Would the Zeller See in Austria not count? It has no outflows. I'm not expert enough on the definition to make the change to the article myself. jlang 17:28, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

This article's definition of an endorheic system precludes any underground drainage. The Zeller See article says that for that lake "water loss is solely by evaporation or underground seepage." That would seem to exclude it from being described as an endorheic system. (I'm not an expert on either the definition of endorheic or the hydrology of the Zeller See.) --Kbh3rdtalk 20:20, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Colorado River[edit]

Isn't the Colorado River an endorheic basin? After all, it dries up before making it to the Gulf of California. If yes, this is a great example to discuss, since it is endorheic purely because of human activity. If you account for this human activity, this actually would make the Salton Sea the low point of the Colorado River endorheic basin, since this is where the irrigation canals are directing most of the water that would otherwise reach the sea. (Most other diversions lead back to the river, such as diversion into Phoenix, which return via the Gila River).

I'm not sure how folks view this idea, but it's certainly worth some discussion.

On this topic of uniqueness, Crater Lake should maybe be mentioned as a rare example of a wet climate endorheic basin. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 04:33, 25 February 2007 (UTC).

Don't know, but if I had to guess I would think it isn't considered a basin (see Mojave River for something vaguely similar, or rather would be similar if it headed towards the ocean). In any event, what matters is not where you and I would draw the line, but where reliable sources draw the line. So this is more a matter of research than discussion as such. Kingdon 17:25, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
The map appears to show the Colorado River basin in North America as endorheic which to me seems rather misleading. The Colorado River after all used to flow permanently into the Gulf of California. Now it only flows into the sea intermittently because of human activity such as damming and water extraction. However it does still flow into the sea reasonably regularly, the change is only recent and human induced, which to me would tend to make me think of it not as an endorheic basin. Booshank 17:37, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
I believe that you are misinterpretting the map, which shows the Great Basin, not the Colorado River basin. They border each other, and both squeeze into that area in southern California near where the Colorado enters the Gulf of California -- relatively near, given the scale of that map. The Salton Sea, e.g., is in that area and is certainly endorheic. See the maps on the Great Basin page. --Kbh3rdtalk 02:30, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
Once in a blue moon, the Okavango has enough flow to reach the Cuando River, which connects to the Zambezi, and hence the sea. This is entirely natural (as its normal state of not making it there. But if you start including intermittent areas you run into gray areas like this. I think most would argue the Okavango qualifies and is indeed a prime example of an endorheic basin. Aapold (talk) 15:47, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
Back to the comment about the Mojave River in Southern California, I believe its water ended up in Death Valley during the Pleistocene, as did water from Mono Lake and the Owens Valley. LADave (talk) 19:26, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

Asia section[edit]

There is total confusion between "basin" and "lake". This makes no sense at all:

Much of western and Central Asia is a single, giant inland basin. It contains several lakes, including:

The Central Asian Internal Drainage Basin, the largest of the three major basins covering Mongolia. Brianhep (talk) 04:50, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Great Basin Lakes section[edit]

Shouldn't Lake Tahoe also be included in the list of North America's Great Basin lakes? While it does have outflow, the outflow terminates in Pyramid Lake, which is an endorheic terminal lake. Ityllux (talk) 04:39, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

List of endorheic basins expresses it as the "Pyramid Lake-Truckee River-Lake Tahoe (California, Nevada)" system. LADave (talk) 19:29, 8 April 2011 (UTC)


There are a couple ones on Hispañola, the largest of which is Lago Enriquillo on the Dominican side. I'm not sure but heard someone claim it is the largest endorheic lake on an island. Others include Etang Saumâtre and Trou Caïman in Haiti. Aapold (talk) 15:40, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Diffusion vs Seepage[edit]

The article states that normal drainage basins can outflow by diffusion through permeable rock. How is seepage outflow of an Endorheic basin different from diffusion through permeable rock? Panscient (talk) 15:12, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Crater Lake[edit]

This body of water drains through aquafers into the Klamath River Basin, which drains into the Pacific Ocean. It wouldn't be an endorheic basic with the defination given. I illegally drank some of the water, it was soft as snow melt. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:54, 3 December 2010 (UTC)

Dubious map[edit]

The western part of inland central Australia is shown in pink, as if it drains to the sea. This is incorrect. Most of this area has no drainage to the sea at all, even in abnormal rain conditions. If a lot of water arrives, it ends up in the countless dry salt pans.Eregli bob (talk) 16:41, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

closed hydrologic systems[edit]

The article states that "Endorheic regions, in contrast to exorheic regions which flow to the ocean in geologically defined patterns, are closed hydrologic systems." I disagree, based on my understanding of hydrologic, namely that it includes evapotranspiration and rainfall. If my understanding is correct, rain evaporated from other basins would fall in an endorheic basin and water would indeed escape the endorheic basin and fall elsewhere in the world. (talk) 17:00, 16 September 2013 (UTC) -- Sorry: that was me, D. F. Schmidt (talk) 17:01, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Endorheic Farm Ponds[edit]

I have been trying to find information regarding farm ponds. Man made farm ponds are often endorheic and my mother-in-laws farm pond is one such pond. It has a very small catchment area, almost never runs over, and the soil in the area is clay, so there's probably little or no seepage. The water level varies, being low during dry seasons and higher during rainy seasons. I have found very little information regarding testing for salinity levels, fish, plants. (talk) 06:26, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

Endorheic basin vs Closed sea[edit]

The page was recently moved to "Closed sea", however there was no discussion and the article was not modified to fit the new name. The name "closed sea" is not even mentioned in the article except for the dab at the top. This is about basins with no external drainage and most don't have a resident body of water or "sea" except temporarily. Given that - the name "closed sea" is simply a misnomer. Thoughts? Vsmith (talk) 15:49, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Either way it should have stayed "Endorheic basin" until such a major change was discussed, and it should be someone willing to related work on the article doing such a move. Beyond that, I'm no expert on what the most common term is, or whether such a term is unambiguous. But they certainly are very different. One is about basins, and only a small fraction of those include a sea. North8000 (talk) 20:30, 9 May 2017 (UTC)