Friday, 01 December 2023
Acıgöl: A Mesmerizing Destination in Konya for Nature Lovers

Acıgöl: A Mesmerizing Destination in Konya for Nature Lovers

Acıgöl is a volcanic maar lake located in Turkey, north of the Karapınar-Ereğli road and 2.7 km northeast of the Meke Crater Lake. It is known for its bitter and salty waters containing magnesium sulfate and various bacterial species. The area has experienced numerous volcanic events, resulting in the formation of various features such as andesite-basalt rocks, lava flows, tuff cones, and maars in the region known as the Central Anatolian Volcanic Province. As a result, Acıgöl is considered one of Turkey's most important natural attractions.

Acıgöl is a volcanic maar lake formed due to the Karacadağ volcanic activity occurred in the Pliocene Epoch in the region. Acıgöl Maar has a diameter of 1.5 km and is 988 m above sea level, with an area of 400 hectares and elliptical shape. Its width is between 1750 m and 1250 m. The long axis of the lake area is 1340 m and the short axis is 1065 m. The water level in the lake, whose waters are highly sulfated and salty, is decreasing day by day. According to monthly water level measurements made by DSI between 1966 and 2016 in the Acıgöl, the water level decreased from 150 cm to 76 cm.

Acıgöl Maar, like Meke Maar and many other maars in the region, was formed by the emptying of the underground magma chamber and the collapse of its ceiling. The maars are elliptical eruption pits with a width of 1.5 km formed on the lava flows rising above the Konya Lake level. The crater floors are below the lake level with an elevation of 1015 m. Acıgöl Maar was formed by erupting from the same center with the source of the hyaloclastic tuffs settled around it before.

Acıgöl is located in a crater formed by an eruption in a volcanic area on the southeast edge of Karacadağ. The lake shores are quite steep. The waters are salty and bitter due to magnesium sulfate. Bacterial and archaeal species have been identified in the lake. The species Marinobacter, Idiomarina, and Thalassospira were first described in Acıgöl and in Turkey.

In the Middle Miocene, the Arabian Plate and the Eurasian Plate approached each other, resulting in numerous volcanic events in the region during the Upper Miocene and Quaternary periods, in areas known as the Cappadocia Volcanic Complex and the Central Anatolian Volcanic Province. As a result of these activities in Central Anatolia, rocks with andesite-basalt composition, lava flows, scoria cones, and maars were formed between Mount Hasan and Karapınar. Acıgöl, Meke Lakes, Yılan Sinkhole, and Meke Sinkhole, which are located in the region, are grouped under the Karapınar Group.

The basaltic rocks found in Acıgöl and Meke Lakes, which are part of the Quaternary Volcanism in Central Anatolia, are derived from the deep mantle and are the product of their settling into the area due to the effect of continental crust.

The infiltration of groundwater and surface waters into the magma chamber caused volcanic gas explosions.

Volcanic ash clouds dispersed from radial eruption centers enabled the volcanic tuffs bearing traces of currents (mini-cross bedding, wavy forms) and volcanic bomb depressions to acquire a base-surge structure around the maars and in the shallow water environment.

There are many spring outflows containing CO2 and sulphate along the beach and shoreline formed on the eastern shore of Acıgöl. In this section, new tufa formations occur due to algae, especially on the southern shores of the lake. Tufa formations are geologically very interesting structures in that they occur in such a salty lake and should be protected as a geological heritage site.

The sulfated and salty waters of Acıgöl are a resting place on the flight paths of migratory birds, such as coot and eurasian coot, ruddy shelduck, snipe, hoopoe, golden eagle, scavenger vultures, long-legged buzzard, chukar, green jay, stilt, bullfinch, etc. and host many migratory bird species.