Aquatic Geochemistry

, Volume 15, Issue 1–2, pp 223–236 | Cite as

Kara-Bogaz-Gol Bay: Physical and Chemical Evolution

  • Aleksey N. Kosarev
  • Andrey G. KostianoyEmail author
  • Igor S. Zonn
Original Paper


Kara-Bogaz-Gol Bay is a large (around 18,000 km2) and shallow (few meters deep) lagoon located east of the Caspian Sea. Its water surface was several meters to several dozens cm lower than in the Caspian Sea, so water flows from the Caspian Sea through a narrow strait into the bay, where it evaporates. Kara-Bogaz-Gol Bay is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world; its water salinity amounts to 270–300 g/l. Different kinds of salts available in this natural evaporative basin has been used commercially since at least the 1920s. In March 1980, in order to decelerate a continuous fall of the Caspian Sea level, which in 1977 was the lowest over the last 400 years (−29 m), the Kara-Bogaz-Gol Strait was dammed. In response to this human intervention, the bay had already dried up completely by November 1983. In 1992, the dam was destroyed, and Kara-Bogaz-Gol Bay had been filling up with the Caspian Sea water at a rate of about 1.7 m/year up to 1996 as observed by the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite altimetry mission. Since then, Kara-Bogaz-Gol Bay level evolution with characteristic seasonal and interannual oscillations has been similar to that of the Caspian Sea. Physical and chemical evolution of the bay in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is traced in detail in the paper.


Kara-Bogaz-Gol Bay Caspian Sea Mineral salts Sea level Salinity 



This work was partially supported by the NATO Science for Peace Programme Project “Multi-disciplinary Analysis of the Caspian Sea Ecosystem” (MACE), the INTAS Project “Value Added Satellite Altimetry for Coastal Regions (ALTICORE)” (Contract No. 05-1000008-7927), and Russian Foundation for Basic Research Grant N 06-05-64871-a.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aleksey N. Kosarev
    • 1
  • Andrey G. Kostianoy
    • 2
    Email author
  • Igor S. Zonn
    • 3
  1. 1.Geographic DepartmentLomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  3. 3.Engineering Research Production Center on Water Management, Land Reclamation and EcologyMoscowRussia

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