April 21, 2021 - Lake Khanka

Lake Khanka

The green waters of Lake Khanka stretch across Primorsky Krai, Russia and the province of Heilongjiang, China. As one of the largest freshwater lakes (by area) in Far Eastern Russia and China, Lake Khanka (known as Lake Xingkai in Chinese) plays an important role in supporting biodiversity in the region. More than 75 species of fish call the shallow lake home and provides habitat for the largest population of rare Chinese soft-shelled turtles in the Russian Far East. More than 40 species of mammal have been found near the lake, including Amur tigers and Siberian Roe Deer. The lake is a major source of freshwater for birds (particularly waterfowl) and home to some of the highest levels of bird diversity in Eurasia, with a list of more than 320 avian species.

Lake Khanka is surrounded by open lowlands, wetlands, grassy meadows, and swamps, which also contain many rare and endangered plants. With a ratio of 5:1 open water to wetland, the northern portion of the lake has been designated as a Ramsar Convention Wetland Site, promoting conservation and sustainable use of the wetlands. The lake is also included on UNESCO’s “World Biosphere Reserves” list.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a true-color image of Lake Khanka on April 20, 2021. The muddy-green color of the lake water is most likely a combination of sediment swirled up from the shallow lake bottom from winds and snow melt, and growth of phytoplankton—microscopic, plant-like organisms—that contain the green pigment, chlorophyl.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 4/20/2021
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC