Kyrgyzstan lake


Each August the ice-locked Merzbacher Lake on the Northern Inylchek Glacier bursts through its ice wall and the lake empties, to refill after some time again with the melted glaciers that surround. What's more interesting is that only a part of a lake drains. The lake is 4 km long and 1 km wide and is divided into two parts by a bridge of ice. The North-Eastern part of the lake is always full of water, but another part drains and sometimes even twice a year. It very dangerous to be their, especially in summer period, nobody known, when the ice will break and water go away through the ground tunnels. It was the German geographer and mountaineer Gottfried Merzbacher who first discovered the lake in 1903 while leading an expedition to the central Tian Shan. Their aim was to reach the 7010 summit of Khan Tengri Peak. But the ice-covered rock forced the group back. Returning here with the colleagues by the path between Northern and Southern Inylchek Glacier, Merzbacher came across a clear lake, now named after him. While the expedition was still working in its vicinity, the lake emptied. This was a great surprise for him and his colleagues. Returning back here in a year Merzbacher found this lake full of water again and was astonished by the miracles of nature.

Twenty-eight years later another group of explorers witnessed the same event. To their astonishment Merzbacher Lake emptied before their very eyes, leaving great blocks of ice at the bottom of the former lake. When the ice was breaking it made terrible noises. "Our horses were so frightened by the great roar and Glacier pulsation that we hardly managed to get them down the slope", - said the member of the expedition. In a year when a group returned to reach Khan Tengri Peak, they were amazed to see the lake full of clean water and small icebergs floating on its silent surface.

There are several theories to explain the regular outflow of water from Merzbacher. Some scientists suggest that pressure exerted by the water of the lake on South Inylchek Glacier becomes sufficient, once the lake reaches a certain depth to cause deformation of the Glacier. When this deformation causes the gaps between the Glacier and its bad, the lake drains. 

 

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