Revealed: the world's most unusual lakes

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The Independent Online

The world's ten most unusual lakes have been named by niche website Lakelubbers, an online guide for vacationers who want to get closer to nature.

The website, which lists some 1,625 lakes around the world, complete with size, depth, shoreline length, fish species and lake activities, has chosen lakes in the US, Europe, Australasia and the Caribbean for its top ten list.

The World's Most Unusual Lakes
Compiled by

1 - Mountain Lake, Virginia, USA
With a role in the 1987 hit movie Dirty Dancing, Mountain Lake is something of a celebrity, but also boasts curious seismic activity - the lake empties and refills due to fault lines at its base. (Mountain Lake, Virginia)

2 - Lake Waiau, Big Island, Hawaii, USA
Sitting almost atop the Mauna Kea volcano, Lake Waiau is a spectacular sight if you can manage the drive to 13,020 feet (3,968 meters) above sea level. Curiously, the lake has no water source - scientists believe it is formed of a permafrost base which melts as necessary to refill the lake.

3 - Draper Lake, Florida, USA
A coastal dune lake that has been the focus of intense efforts to protect it from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Draper Lake's position between the land and the sea gives it a strange property - it alternates between freshwater and seawater and therefore boasts a unique ecosystem.

4 - Lake McKenzie, Australia
Located on Fraser Island off the coast of Queensland, Australia, Lake McKenzie is one of only a few dozen "perched lakes" in the world, which are formed when a wind-blown depression in the sand is rendered impermeable by the build-up of layer upon layer of decayed organic material. The stunning trees, dunes and beaches make the island island so extraordinary it was named K'gari - "Paradise" - by the Aboriginal people.

5 - Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
As well as cascading waterfalls and tucked-away caves surrounded by lush green forests, the Plitvice Lakes have another unique property - due to shifting balances in minerals and organisms in the water, they change color. The 20 lakes range in elevation from 636 meters (2,087 feet) to 503 meters (1,650) above sea level and are separated by a series of cascading waterfalls.

6 - Lake Melissani, Greece
Visitors tour this underground lake of Kefalonia in boats, piloted by singing boatmen and lit by sunlight which streams through a hole in the ceiling of the cave.

7 - Lake Vostok, Antarctica
It may be one of the largest in the world, but Antarctica's Lake Vostok is virtually unknown - it is located beneath more than two miles (three kilometers) of ice and has been isolated from Earth’s atmosphere for two million years. Scientists believe the conditions may closely resemble those of the frozen subterranean lakes on Jupiter’s moon Europa, making it an invaluable research tool - and obviously unavailable to the public.

8 - Lake Pitch, Trinidad
Visitors can walk on some parts of Lake Pitch, which is a pool of asphalt measuring some 114 acres. Scientists believe it likes at the junction of two fault lines that allow oil to seep to the surface, as well as an incredibly rich ecosystem that manages to thrive in an environment with no water and limited oxygen.

9 - Lake Manyara, Tanzania
Its stunning scenery inspired Hemingway's Green Hills of Africa, and Lake Manyara is no less impressive today, constantly rising and falling with the seasons to reveal exposed lands and flourishing flora. The ecosystem supports some 400 species of birds.

10 - Lake Piediluco, Italy
Boasting one of the tallest manmade waterfalls in Europe, Umbria's Lake Piediluco is home to a hydroelectric power plant and is a haven for watersports enthusiasts. Tourists wait each afternoon for the gates to be opened and the water to drop 541 feet (164 meters) into the gorge below.