Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

September 16, 2004

Plitvicka2a copy

Provided and copyright by: Elisabeth Long, University of Chicago Library
Summary authors & editors: Elisabeth Long

The Plitvicka Jezera (Plitvice Lakes) National Park in Croatia houses 16 brilliant blue-green lakes separated by a series of waterfalls flowing over travertine barriers which have built up over the last ten thousand years. Plitvicka's karst lake beds (the upper lakes are dolomite and the lower lakes, limestone) produce a high concentration of calcium carbonate in the water. This is, in turn, re-desposited on the lake bed, especially in the roots of the mosses which grow there. These lime-encrustations and deposits, called tavertine, build up over time to create an ever-changing series of waterfall-separated lakes. This geological phenomena also result in the brilliant blue-green, clear waters of the lakes. In 1979, UNESCO declared the lakes a World Heritage Site. The above photos of the lakes highlight the travertine waterfalls (left) and the brilliant color of the waters (right).

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