Lake Puma Yumco

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Lake Puma Yumco
PumaYumco winter mosaic.jpg
Puma Yumco in winter. The north-south white line is a possible ice ridge, formed by east-west winds subsequently highlighted by snow.
Lake Puma Yumco is located in Tibet
Lake Puma Yumco
Lake Puma Yumco
Location in the Tibet A.R.
LocationNagarzê County, Tibet
Coordinates28°34′N 90°25′E / 28.567°N 90.417°E / 28.567; 90.417Coordinates: 28°34′N 90°25′E / 28.567°N 90.417°E / 28.567; 90.417
Native nameཕུ་མ་གཡུ་མཚོ · 普莫雍错
Basin countriesChina
Max. length32 km (20 mi)
Max. width14 km (8.7 mi)
Surface area280 km2 (110 sq mi)
Surface elevation5,030 m (16,500 ft)
Lake Puma Yumco (centre) and Lake Yamzho Yumco from space, November 1997

Lake Puma Yumco (Tibetan: ཕུ་མ་གཡུ་མཚོ, Wylie: phu ma g.yu mtsho; simplified Chinese: 普莫雍错; traditional Chinese: 普莫雍錯; pinyin: Pǔmò Yōngcuò) is a lake located at 5,030 m (16,500 ft) above mean sea level on the southern Tibetan Plateau, and is situated within Nagarzê County of the Tibet Autonomous Region. It is 32 km (20 mi) long, 14 km (8.7 mi) wide, and covers an area of 280 km2 (110 sq mi).[1] Streams of water from the snow-capped surrounding mountains feed the lake, but the lake has no outlet. Some sediment can be seen entering the lake at its western end.

Puma Yumco literally means The Blue Jewel which is floating in the sky. The lake freezes in winter and is crossed by shepherds with their sheep. Since the climate is warming, the ice is becoming thinner and thus creates a problem for the 120 people living off and around the lake.[citation needed]

The lake is considered ultraoligotrophic, meaning that nutrient concentrations in both the water column and lake sediments are extremely low. Water in such lakes tends to be blue to blue-green and to have high clarity due to low levels of photosynthesizing organisms such as phytoplankton.

During the winter, the lake develops intricate ice block patterns on the surface, ranging from less than ten to hundreds of metres in diameter. The ice pattern is caused by repeated cycles of freezing, fracturing, and refreezing of the ice due to variations in temperature and wind-induced ice motion.



  1. ^ Herdendorf, Charles E. (1982). "Large Lakes of the World". Journal of Great Lakes Research. 8 (3): 379–412. doi:10.1016/S0380-1330(82)71982-3.

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