NM23-751-347 Lake Balkhash, Kazakhstan Winter/Spring 1997
The sixteenth largest inland lake in the world, Lake Balkhash, can be seen in this east-looking view. Covering an area of 7115 square miles (18428 square km), Lake Balkhash is 376 miles (605 km) long and has a maximum width of 45 miles (70 km). To the north of Lake Balkhash (left portion of the image) are the southern portions of the semi-arid Kazakh Uplands. To the south of Lake Balkhash (right portion of the image) is the Saryesik-Atryan Desert, mostly a sand desert. The average depth of the lake is 20 feet (6 meters) though its maximum depth reaches 87 feet (26 meters). Three major streams feed Lake Balkhash, all from the south or southeast. The Ili River, with its large delta, is visible in the lower right portion of the image. The Karatal River, with its smaller delta, is visible near the right center of the image. The Aqsu River is barely discernible in the upper right portion of the image. Lake Balkhash has no outlet. The waters of the western part of the lake, especially near the Ili River mouth, are fresh. The waters of the eastern part of the lake are partly salty. Since 1960, water levels in Lake Balkhash have been declining, mostly due to evaporation and increased water usage for irrigation along the Ili and Karatol Rivers. The snow-covered peaks of the Dzhungarsk-Alatau Mountains are discernible in the extreme upper right portion of the image.

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