Friday, October 21, 2011

Siah Gav Twin Lakes

The Siah Gav Twin Lakes (دریاچه دوقلو سیاه گاو) are located in Abdanan, Ilam Province and are one of the most prominent natural beauties of the area. The Lakes are 180 kilometers south of the city of Ilam and on the slopes of Kabir Kooh. These Lakes are a rare and unique natural phenomenon and a popular destination for adventurous hikers and sightseeers. They are surrounded by fields and high slopes and create a breath taking scene during the fall and spring.  

The two Lakes are very similar and almost round in size with an approximate radius of 30 meters. The region’s climate promotes mostly late winter and spring tourism although in reality at any given the Lakes’ beauty attracts visitors. The two Lakes are connected via a canal spanning 8 meters wide, 4 meters deep and 70 meters long. The water in the Lakes is so clean and clear that one can easily see deep into them, spotting various and multi colored types of fish in either Lake. The water supply for the Lakes is provided by natural underground sources and springs although seasonal rivers also contribute to the Lakes’ volume and location. While the Lakes are estimated to go back a few thousand years, however, due to natural deterioration of its perimeter and subsequent gradual filling of the Lakes, their area has been decreasing over the years. The two Lakes have a nominal difference in elevation while the slightly bigger Lake is also somewhat clearer, to a large extent as a result of human littering.  

Inside the Lakes are a variety of salts and sediments and the water itself has a sulfuric taste to it. During the seasons when water exits the Lakes, it flows and irrigates many local villages along its way. The surrounding slopes also contain many caves and oddly shaped rocks and boulders. 

One of the mysteries regarding the Siah Gav Lakes are their names. One local story indicates that in the past a hippopotamus lived in one of the two Lakes and due to its dark color and the unfamiliarity of the locals with this species it was nicknamed the black cow. In 2010, the Siah Gav Twin Lakes were registered as a natural heritage list and as a result funds have been allocated for the construction of necessary surrounding infrastructures. Furthermore in 2011, with the help of environmental groups and the local Red Cross chapter, general cleaning of the Lakes was initiated. 

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