Plitvička jezera

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Joanna Markowska, “The Origins of the Plitvice Lakes (Croatia),” Miscellanea Geographica (Warszawa, 2004):

The Plitvice Lakes are situated in a valley between the Velebit and the Plješevica mountain ranges in central Croatia. Because of their unusual natural qualities, in 1949 the lakes together with the surrounding forest became a natural preserve …

 

The lakes are situated in the central part of the park, in the longitudinally running valley of the Korana River. The water table of the highest situated lake, Prošćansko, is at 636 metres above sea level, while that of the lowest-situated one, Novakovića Brod, at 503 metres above sea level. The remaining 14 lakes form a sequence of steps between the two …

 

The main fault running through the park has the NW – SE direction, coinciding with the direction of the main mountain ranges and faultsof the Dinaric Alps. This fault played an important role in the formation of the park’s relief, since it divides the impermeable dolomite of which its southwestern part is built from the permeable limestone in the northeastern part. Such geological structure allowed for the accumulation of water in the region built of dolomite; this, in turn, made possible the formation of relatively large lake basins. The lakes situated in the northeastern part of the park, built of limestone, have relatively small surface (max. 2.92 hectares, Lake Milanovac) and a very weakly developed coastline. They do not form independent basins, but are fragments of the riverbed …

 

Klimaszewski (2003), does not write anything about the tectonic origins or the role of vegetation in the formation of the Plitvice Lakes. Heexplains their origins by chemical processes: “As a result of the sudden decrease of the CO2 contents in the spring and river waters, saturated with calcium carbonate dish-shaped depressions, and spring tufa are formed near the springs, and thresholds, cascades and calc-sinter depression, in the river valleys (e.g., the Plitvice Lakes in the Korana River valley in the Dinaric Alps or in valleys near Cracow, Poland)”. The process of precipitation of calcium carbonate played a huge role in the formation of the Plitvice Lakes; it is not, however, the only process which contributed to their formation.

Okay, whatever. Bottom line: stunning. Not to be believed, but for the evidence of one’s own eyes.

 

 

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