A vast hypersaline lake with many islands, surrounded by extensive brackish marshes. The lake is fed by rainfall, springs and streams and subject to seasonal variation in level and salinity. The brackish marshes support reeds and large breeding colonies of various waterbirds with large numbers of flamingos (40,000-80,000 pairs), and are an important staging area for migratory waterbirds.
A freshwater lake fringed by extensive reedbeds of various species, and lying in a closed, high altitude basin. The lake is fed by rainfall, runoff, springs and small streams, with inflow from spring snow-melt being the greatest contributor. The surrounding area is semi-arid steppe and includes a small settlement and associated cultivation.