Lake Taymyr, Russia

Lake Taymyr is the second largest lake after Lake Baikal in the Asian part of Russia, located in the central regions of the Taymyr Peninsula. It is located South off the Byrranga Mountains, in the permafrost zone.

Lake Taymyr Stats

Lake NameLake Taymyr
Surface area4908.660
Maximum depth26.0
Average depth2.6
Lake typeNatural
Catchment area92284.10
InflowsZapadnaya, Severnaya, Bikada Nguoma, Yamutarida, Kalamissamo, Upper Taymyra
OutflowsLower Taymyra
Shore length2157.26
Mixing typeDimictic
Residence time184.1
FrozenFrom late September until June
Average discharge804.640
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Geography and Hydrology

The lake has plenty of tributaries of which the largest is Upper Taymyra, followed by the rivers Zapadnaya, Severnaya, Yamutarida and Kalamissamo. The larg freshwater lake is unusual in shape, having many arms.

Since the lake is so shallow, it cools and freezes rapidly, and is completely covered in ice from late September until June. Some specialists affirm that during this time more than 80% of the lake freezes to the bottom, whilst others proclaim that the maximum ice thickness is 2.5 meters.

The tundra areas located south of the lake are filled with marshes and smaller lakes. There are two larger lakes in the proximity of Taymyr, Kungusalakh 33 kilometers to the East and Portnyagino 72 kilometers to the South-East.

A polar station is also situated on the lake shores.


The lake’s flora is mainly composed of aquatic organism complexes and typical species of Lake Baikal. The lake and the tundra area is a popular spot for birds such as geese, rough-legged buzzards, swans, ducks, peregrines and snowy owls.

Lake Taymyr is inhabited by plenty of fish of which including the grayling, muksun, loach and sig. Although the area is pretty remote, the overfishing of particular species can be observed.

The Taymyr Peninsula has the largest population of reindeer in Eurasia. Other animals living in this area are the argali, Arctic fox, wolf and lemming. In 1975 the muskoxen was reintroduced in the area from the United States and Canada.

The lake and its surroundings were included in the Taimyrsky natural reserve in 1983.

Scientists have found plutonium contamination in sediments of the lake which presumably arrived to Taymyr through wind-carried particles after the abundance of nuclear tests that were done in Novaya Zemlya during the Cold War.

Lake Taymyr Map