Underwater Fairy Chimneys in Lake Van » Expat Guide Turkey

While a large loss of water has occurred Lake Vanthe world’s largest soda lake, the effects of global climate change have also completely created the natural wonders of microbial life at the bottom of the water.

Microbialites that resemble coral reefs and are described as “Underwater Fairy Chimneys” in Lake Van, have an important place in terms of diving tourism. The new discovery finds the world’s largest microbialite reefs measuring 32.2 meters in length in Lake Van in Turkey, believed to be 70,000 years old.

The excessive evaporation and the decrease in precipitation due to the rise in temperature in Lake Van led to a decrease in the water level.

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Water abstraction in some coastal areas of Lake Van also had a negative impact on the microbial structures in the depths of the lake. Microbialites, only a small part of which was visible in previous years, were fully exposed this time with the receding water.


Speaking to İHA reporter, Professor from Van YYU Faculty of Letters, Institute of Geography. dr Faruk Alaeddinoglu noted that Lake Van was losing area over a long period of time.

Prof. Dr. Alaeddinoglu explained that the level loss in Lake Van is due to three negative reasons: “The first causes water loss in the lake as a result of heat due to global warming and evaporation caused by heat. Second, the decrease in precipitation prevents surface flows from reaching the lake, and third, the inability to feed groundwater due to the inability to feed the soil, resulting in a drop in groundwater-fed lake levels. Lake Van is really special in terms of ecosystem. One of these features are microbialites. Each of the microbialites formed through millennia of accumulation in the lake is a natural wonder.

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Alaeddinoglu explained that the landing of microbial with dehydration will negatively affect diving tourism, Alaeddinoglu said: “These are structures that were first noticed in diving and today people from different regions travel to observe them and participate in some them to interact way. Unfortunately, when we take water from the lake, we see that the loss in the coastal area also occurs vertically. The vertical fall made the microbialites that should have been beneath the lake and thriving visible from land. It’s a problematic situation that we don’t want,” he said.

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