Lakes and Rivers (Biomes of the Earth) by Trevor Day

By Trevor Day

The geography and geology of lakes and rivers is an engaging topic. From plankton to greater fishes and flora and fauna, rivers and lakes are wealthy with biodiversity. The earliest civilizations have been established round rivers, together with the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates, and Indus and Huang Ho valleys. Illustrating the actual geography, hydrology, ecology, and human use of those components, "Lakes and Rivers" presents an outstanding review of the earlier, current, and way forward for those habitats. This quantity concludes with a dialogue of threats to rivers and lakes, equivalent to overharvesting, results of damming, pollutants, and weather switch, in addition to how you can deal with and safeguard those habitats.

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Across the world, glacial depressions are the most common type of natural still-water basins, and they account for many of the lakes in temperate latitudes. The existence of extensive glaciers and ice sheets during the last ice age (ending within the past 15,000 years) explains why Canada’s landscape now contains several hundred thousand lakes and why the northern United States contains many more lakes than the southern part. Minnesota alone contains about 11,000 glacial lakes. In the southern United States, lakes become common in limestone country—regions where the limestone bedrock is easily eroded by water flowing underground.

33 34 LAKES AND RIVERS sphagnum moss colonizing the edge of the lake and creating boggy ground sphagnum mosses growing toward the center of the lake lake formed from water filling a depression reeds colonizing the edges of the boggy ground conifer trees growing on the former bog Three stages in an ecological succession from lake to conifer forest peat forming at the bottom of the lake peat filling a large proportion of the depression only small areas of open water remain PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY OF LAKES AND RIVERS In forested areas with cool temperate climates, sphagnum mosses are commonly the pioneer colonizers of the edges of lakes.

In the 1910s, a rock slide in the Murgab Valley of what is now Tajikistan, Central Asia, blocked the river, creating a massive lake, Lake Sarez. Within a few years, the lake grew to a length of 38 miles (61 km) and a depth in excess of 1,657 feet (505 m). Some animals dam rivers purposely to create regions with raised water level. Beavers construct dams out of logs and branches to keep the entrance of their home, called a lodge, flooded so that land predators cannot enter (see “On two or four legs,” pages 117–127).

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