Monday, October 19, 2009

Water, Water Everywhere - Lake Plitvice, Croatia

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a series of 16 mostly small lakes, with waterfalls and streams connecting them. Hundreds of them.

From a sign at the Park:
"Plitvice Lakes are the results of the living world which inhabits them.

Once upon a time...there was a river in this karst valley.

Its clean and transparent waters offered life to many of the valley's inhabitants both planats and animals. Some of them decided to thank the river by making it even more beautiful.

The rain collected carbon dioxide when passing throught the ground and, thus created tons of carbonic acid, which dissolved the underground rocks. Water was enriched with dissolved calcium carbonate. Microscopic algae and bacteria came to live on the surface of the moss. Their mucus caught the crystals of calcite from the water. From the calcite sediment and fossilized algae and moss, the porous type of stone, travertine, is formed.

The large travertine barriers were thus formed, which slowed down the river and remodeled the valley. The lakes were born.

Even today, on the top of the barriers over which the waterfalls come down, in the the water that never stops flowing, live little travertine makers, the moss and the algae. Everyday they continue to create this phenomenon, which makes their river and lakes beautiful and famous throughout the world.

The process of travertine formation is at its peak in the summertime, and is slowed down by the presence of any quantity of organic matter by each pollution, even the simplest swim in the lake."

The lakes have a beautiful colour, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colours change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.

This picture is for a couple of fly-fishing fans I know. Fish lined the shores and were a never-ending source of fascination for the scores of tourists who visit this park everyday (700,000 a year).

The water that is on an angle is flowing out of a hole.

Items under the water also become calcified.

I guess I did not travel on the path that would have allowed me to take the picture seen below, so I have borrowed it from Wikipedia (I hope that is okay). It does a good job of showing the walkways and how the water spills out from the small lakes. I suggest you enlarge it for a better view.