|Satellite photo of Lake Van|
|Geographical location||East turkey|
|Tributaries||Karasu, Hoşap, Güzelsu, Bendimahi, Zilan and Yeniköprü|
|Islands||Akdamar , Çarpanak Adası (İçeriçarpanak), Adır Adası (Lim), Kuş Adası ( Arter )|
|Places on the shore||Van , Tatvan , Ahlat , Adilcevaz , Erciş|
|Altitude above sea level|
|surface||3 522 km²|
|Maximum depth||451 m|
|Middle deep||163.5 m|
|Catchment area||12,500 km²|
The Lake Van ( Turk. Van Gölü , kurd. Gola Wane , poor. Վանա լիճ, Wana Lič , Greek. Thospitis ) is the largest lake in Turkey and the largest soda lake on earth. It is located in the far east of the country in the provinces of Van and Bitlis . There are fruit and grain growing areas around the lake. The provincial capital Van is on the east bank of the lake.
Lake Van lies at an altitude of bathymetric map created at that time was evaluated by Stephan Kempe and, due to lack of data, overestimated the lake volume to 607 km³ with an area of 3574 km². In 1985 a new bathymetric lake map was published, showing that the lake in the north-east is separated into two basins, the northern Ahlat and the central Tatvan basins, by a ridge. This reduces the volume to 576 km³. The area is given as 3522 km².and is one of the largest mountain lakes on earth. It has no drainage and is surrounded by volcanoes and mountains up to high. The lake is 127 km long in SW-NE direction and a maximum of 52 km wide in NS direction. The shore length is approx. 576 km. Echo sounding carried out for the first time in 1974 revealed a depth of up to 451 m. The
The valley's original outflow towards the Euphrates was blocked less than a million years ago by the Nemrut volcano . A theoretical runoff of the lake, south of Tatvan towards Bitlis, is about 100 m above lake level and it is questionable whether seawater ever drained there. The regulation of the water level takes place via the balance of inflows from the surrounding, 12,500 km² mountain areas, and the precipitation (rain and snow) over the lake minus the evaporation from the lake surface. The annual water balance was given as 4.2 km³, which would lead to a change in the lake level of 0.7 m. However, since influx and evaporation sometimes occur simultaneously, the seasonal fluctuation in the lake level is only about 0.5 m on average. The figures for the total balance have now been corrected slightly downwards to 3.7 km³ by Reimer . Series of wet and dry years can cause the lake level to fluctuate by several meters. This then leads to problems for roads and buildings near the banks and the harbor and ferry facilities on the lake.
The water of Lake Van is highly alkaline , it is the largest soda lake on earth. The water is rich in soda and other salts that are used to make detergents . The pH of the water is 9.8, the salt content 2.27 percent, about half of which is soda and half is table salt. Although the continental climate of Eastern Anatolia has mean temperatures below 0 ° C in winter (December to February), the lake does not freeze over. However, this is less due to the high salt content than to the high volume of the lake. In winter it cools down on the surface, cold water sinks to the bottom and is replaced by warmer deep water. The deep temperatures of the lake are approx. 3 ° C, still higher than the temperature of greatest density for the salinity (approx. −1.3 ° C). Unlike freshwater lakes, the lake does not cool down on the bottom to the temperature of greatest density and thus behaves hydrophysically like a small ocean. In summer, the salinity on the surface is thinned and warmed up by inflowing river and groundwater. As a result, a gradually thicker surface layer is formed . Evaporation in summer and cooling in autumn increase the salinity and density of the surface layer until the lake begins to mix. However, not the entire volume is mixed, but only parts, so that the oxygen content of the lake is not completely renewed and decreases down to almost zero. The high alkalinity of up to 155 meq / l (9.5 g dissolved carbonates / l) ensures very low calcium concentrations of only 4 mg / l due to the solubility equilibrium . Nevertheless, the lake is ten times over saturated with calcium carbonate (CaCO 3 ). At the river mouths, where water with high calcium concentrations mix with the lake water, fine-needle aragonite precipitates , which makes the water milky (so-called whitings). These fine aragonites settle on the bottom of the lake and form a bright summer location. In autumn and winter, on the other hand, darker sediments (clay minerals and organic matter) are deposited, so that annual layers ( varves ) arise. On the other hand, high towers form over groundwater outlets , which initially consist of coral-like calcite trees ( chemical garden ), which are then colonized by cyanobacteria . Due to the high CaCO 3 supersaturation, aragonite precipitates on their colonies. Such microbially precipitated limestones are called microbialites , or - if they are laminated - as stromatolites . In Lake Van, up to 40 m high towers made of such carbonates were discovered by echo sounders and sampled by divers. They are among the largest actively growing microbialites known. The microbial composition has been characterized by DNA and shows numerous different organisms that are involved in aragonite precipitation.
Sediments, paleoclimate, and basin development
The cores recovered in 1974 and 1990 all end up in a hard, dolomite- rich location. Above (in the deep water cores) are six different colored sediment sections (units) that are finely laminated. The lamination is only interrupted by layers of volcanic ash, (layers AP) small turbidite layers and a few slumps (slipping layers). The lamination has proven to be annual layers ( varves ) and allows the cores to be correlated with one another. In this way, disturbed segments in one core can be replaced by intact segments in another core and the varves can thus be continuously evaluated. The first visual census by S. Kempe on the cores from 1974 showed the presence of 10,420 years. At the time, however, it was clear that the most recent sections had probably been lost due to the piston soldering technique. Therefore, in 1990 cores were recovered using a different technique and processed by G. Landmann and G. Lemcke using modern scanning technology.
In total, the cores have been warmed up to 14,740 years BP (i.e. up to 12,790 BC) and represent the entire Holocene and large parts of the Late Glacial , including the Younger Dryas . Above all, the lengths of the sections almost coincide with the sections of the ice core counts.
For geologists, sedimentary deposits are like books and the laminae the individual pages. The geochemical parameters are the words that tell the story. In the case of Lake Van, it is above all the composition of the carbonates that tells the story. The cores recovered from the depths of the lake not only end in a hard, non-laminated and dolomitic layer, but there are also other layers with magnesium-rich carbonates. Dolomite, a magnesium-calcium carbonate, and magnesium-rich carbonates can only precipitate if these minerals are very oversaturated. These layers, like the hard floor layer, therefore show regression phases, i.e. H. Lake level decreases. It was also discovered that in the deep cores the salt content of the pore water increases sharply downwards. From this, and from certain sediment textures, it can be concluded that the lake was almost dry about 15,000 years ago and that since then the lake level has risen and salt from the old sediments has diffused back into the lake. This interpretation fits that the salt age of the lake, i.e. the ratio of the total amount of chloride in today's lake, divided by the annual input via rivers and rain, corresponds to about 200,000 years, the lake not only from the rivers, but also from salt must be fed into the deep sediments. The magnesium-rich layers in the higher units of the sediments also show regression phases: between 12,400 and 10,800, 9,000 to 8,400 and around 3000 years BP. These dry phases can be found e.g. T. also in other seas in the Middle East.
Terraces above the current level indicate the lake level. Laminated sediments were also found in one of them, representing a chronology of 606 years. It was fixed by 14C dating to the period 20,700 to 20,100 years BP, corresponding to a high point during the last high glacial period. This high level is also found in other lakes in the Middle East, such as the Dead Sea. All of these fluctuations are evidence of massive climatic fluctuations, triggered by the multiple shifts of monsoon and continental climates in the late glacial.
The only endemic fish species in Lake Van that was already mentioned by Strabo is the carp species Chalcalburnus tarichi (Turkish İnci kefalı ). Like all fish, the species excretes ammonium (and not urea), which should be toxic at the lake's high pH values; in this respect, this species is unique in the world. It was first described by Johann Anton Güldenstädt . It can only live in the brackish water near the estuaries and has to pull up the rivers to spawn. It is now one of the endangered species. The fish are threatened by illegal catches during spawning, habitat loss from gravel mining, and water pollution. The species was also naturalized in neighboring Erçek Gölü .
The area around the lake is home to the Vankatzen . Often the eyes of the approximately 1000 specimens of this breed of cats have a different color.
A train ferry runs between the cities of Tatvan and Van . The trajectory serves the rail traffic between Ankara and Tabriz . Trucks, cars and travelers are also transported on the ships. A total of four ferries were built on the Black Sea, cut up and reassembled in a dry dock in Tatvan.
On January 15, 2018, a new ferry was put into operation. The Sultan Alparslan is 136.5 m long and 24 m wide. 50 freight wagons with a maximum weight of 3875 tons can be transferred simultaneously on four parallel tracks, each 125 m long . The Sultan Alparslan is Turkey's largest ferry. In addition, 350 travelers can be taken along. The ferry was built in Van's dock . A second ferry is under construction there.
In the Assyrian sources, Lake Van is referred to as the "Upper Lake". The name appears, for example, in the inscriptions of Tukulti-Ninurta I in connection with the Nairi countries. Even Ashur-bel-kala mention the "Upper Lake" in a fragment. In New Assyrian inscriptions ( Shalmaneser III , Sennacherib , Assurhaddon and Aššurbanipal ) the formula “Conqueror from the Upper Lake to the Lower Lake” appears. However, some researchers assume that the term “Upper Sea” refers to the Black Sea . In several inscriptions by Tiglat-Pileser III. the "Upper Sea of Sunset" is mentioned; the term was apparently used for both Lake Van and the Mediterranean , the Tiglat-Pileser III. as the first Assyrian ruler reached. The term “ Sea of Nairi ” is usually translated as Lake Van . Since Shalmaneser II. "Upper and Lower Seas of Nairi" are mentioned, Russell suspects Lake Van and Lake Urmia here , so the more general formulation "Sea of Nairi" may designate both waters.
Hewsen (1982) assumes that the Buana the Geographika of Ptolemäus of Van Lake relates. In ancient times the lake was called Thospites Lacus in Latin . The church history of Philostorgius knows a lake Hyrkanian, which Driver identifies with reservations with the lake Van. He is considered to be the source of the Tigris . In the Middle Ages, the Latin name Arsissa Palus can be found on some maps . In medieval Islamic sources, the lake was called Lake Erciş or Lake Ahlat .
Parrot (1834), Abich (1856) and Sieger (1888) were among the early western travelers who reported on Lake Van and its waters. Tullus (1944), Gessner (1957) and Irion (1973) published the first chemical analyzes of the Vansee water. Legler and Krasske (1940), Kiefer (1955) and Hauer (1957) dealt with phyto- and zooplankton of the lake. Schweizer (1975) dealt with the terraces of the lake for the first time.
Pollen was also analyzed on sediment cores prepared by Egon T. Degens and other researchers in 1974 . The new varva count allows the vegetation development in the van basin to be traced. The oldest sample is from around 13,600 BP . In Bölling and in the late Alleröd the climate was very dry, 90% of the pollen comes from herbaceous plants, especially goosefoot and mugwort. Temperatures rise sharply in Alleröd. In the younger Dryas , the tree population declined again due to the cold and drought, and sea ravages became more common. At the end of the Younger Dryas, temperatures rose sharply and the glaciers in the lake's catchment area melted rapidly. 10,100 years ago they had completely disappeared.
Approx. 1000 BC An increased organic input and the decline of the oak indicated the beginning of an increased anthropogenic influence. Other trees, such as pine and walnut , increased. In the case of the walnut, it can be assumed that it was grown.
The first large, multidisciplinary and international expedition was organized by Egon T. Degens in July 1974 and funded by the German Research Foundation. Researchers from the University of Hamburg , ETH and the Turkish Geological Service (MTA) from Ankara took part in the nine-day expedition . Shallow seismic pinger profiles were run and deep seismic recordings were made with the air gun, a total of nine sediment cores (up to 9.5 m in length from up to 400 m depth) and water samples from up to 380 m depth were recovered. The results have been published in the book "Geology of Lake Van" and in the dissertation by S. Kempe.
The second and third international expeditions were organized by Stephan Kempe in the summer of 1989 and 1990 and also financed by the DFG and the Volkswagen Foundation. From June 6th to July 9th, 1989, researchers from the University of Hamburg , the Polish Academy of Sciences , the ETH Zurich and the Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi in Izmir participated in the first expedition .
Researchers from the University of Hamburg , the ETH Zurich and the Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi took part in the second expedition from June 7 to July 6, 1990 . Piston solder sediment cores were again taken, the water column down to the bottom sampled twice in detail, as well as the rivers flowing into Lake Van. Stromatolite columns were mapped with echo sounders and their rocks and internal water sampled by diving. In addition, a sediment trap was left in the lake for a year. The results of these expeditions were presented in the dissertations of Landmann (sediments), Reimer (water chemistry), Lemke (Palaeoclimate) and Kiefer (mantle helium) as well as numerous other publications.
Another large Lake Van expedition operated under the logo "Palaeovan" and concentrated on seismic profiles (2007) and deep drilling (2010) as part of the International Continental Drilling Program ICDP to record the Quaternary history of the Lake Van Basin.
Archaeologists from Van Yüzüncü Yıl University, led by Tahsin Ceyla, found the ruins of a 3,000-year-old castle from the Urartu civilization underwater .
In the southern part of the lake, near the town of Gevaş , there was an Armenian monastery on the island of Akdamar . Of this, the Church of the Holy Cross ( Armenian Սուրբ խաչ , Surb Chatsch ), built between 915 and 921, has been preserved.
For several years there has been a dispute between the Armenian believers or the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Turkish authorities over the use of the church. The Armenians would like to use the church building at least temporarily for church services, while according to Turkish ideas the building should only be a museum.
In 2005 the Turkish government decided to restore the building, not least under pressure from the public and the press. On March 29, 2007, the Turkish government opened the medieval Armenian Church as a cultural monument. The restoration work on the church cost YTL 4 million . The Armenian architect Zakaryan Mildanoğlu was involved in the restoration.
On September 19, 2010, after about 100 years, a Christian service was held again in the church. In addition to Turkish Armenians, many Armenians from Armenia and the USA traveled to the two-hour mass. Archbishop Aram Ateschian from Diyarbakır presided over the mass . At the beginning of October a 2 meter tall and 110 kg heavy cross was placed on the church. The cross was consecrated by the Armenian priest Tatula Anuşyan from Istanbul .
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- Report of the Turkish newspaper Zaman from April 17, 2006 ( Memento of the original from September 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Armenia to send official team to church reopening March 16, 2007 ( Memento of the original from September 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
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