The Bear Lake

The birth of Bear Lake, is well documented: the whole process started on the 27th of May 1875 and the complete formation took 6 years. The shape of the world’s largest heliothermal lake became quite similar to an outspread bearskin, hence its was name, Bear Lake. Due to the heliothermal phenomena of the lake, the upper 2 m surface of the water can get up to 35 degrees Celsius warm. The lake’s water has been used over the last century (and is still used today) to cure diseases as infertility, rheumatism or different types of inflammation. The Bear Lake lies in a dolina surrounded by dense forests, 500 m above the sea-level. The heliothermic feature of the Lake was explained by Kalecsinszky Sándor, a chemist from Cluj: the sweet water of two small brooks that flow into the Bear Lake form a 10-15 cm thick layer on top of the salt water. This freshwater layer behaves just like a magnifying glass – sunrays penetrating it, warming up the underlying salt waters to a depth of 1,5-2 m up to 35 degrees. The freshwater layer also acts as a heat insulator, preventing salt water with a much higher density to rise to the surface and lose its accumulated heat in contact with cooler air. The Lake’s salinity is so high that it is almost impossible to swim in the lake, the bathers just enjoy the floating on the water surface. In the last few decades the water’s temperature decreased, probably because of the increased number of tourists who come to swim in the lake. The salinity of the water rises with depth, reaching a concentration up to 200-300g/l. Sovata welcomes more and more tourists every year: the region is the favorite of those who come here for different types of naturalistic treatments.

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