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Lake Como in Lombardy, Italy, possesses a cryptodepression. One of the deepest lakes in Europe, its bottom is more than 200 metres (660 feet) below sea level.

From crypto- (prefix meaning ‘hidden’) +‎ depression (area lower in topography than its surroundings).



cryptodepression (plural cryptodepressions)

  1. (geography, limnology) The portion of a lake which lies below sea level.
    • 1957, G[eorge] Evelyn Hutchinson, A Treatise on Limnology, volume I (Geography, Physics, and Chemistry), New York, N.Y.: John Wiley & Sons, OCLC 475547083, page 165:
      When the bottom of the lake lies below mean sea level, it is said to occupy a cryptodepression, the depth of which is the depth below sea level of the deepest point of the basin.
    • 1975 March, Robert V. Thomann; Dominick M. DeToro; Richard P. Winfield; Donald J. O’Connor, “Section IV: Lake Ontario – Background”, in Mathematical Modeling of Phytoplankton in Lake Ontario: 1. Model Development and Verification (Ecological Research Series; EPA-660/3-75-005), Corvallis, Or.: National Environmental Research Center, Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, OCLC 890687357, page 8:
      The lake's elevation above sea level is 74.01 meters (242.8 feet) which makes its depth of cryptodepression to be 170 meters (558 feet).
    • 1979 June, “Appendix A: Problem Identification”, in A Study to Determine the Feasibility of Providing Flood Control Improvements to the Susupe Chalan Kanoa Area, Island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: Draft Detailed Report and Environmental Statement, Fort Shafter [Honolulu], Hi.: U.S. Army Engineer District, Honolulu, OCLC 172922398, page A-10:
      The greater volume of the lake [Lake Susupe] occupies a cryptodepression (that portion which lies below sea level). Based upon a surface elevation of +2.5 ft determined on 20 December 1978 by Juan C. Tenorio and Associates' surveyors, the depth of the cryptodepression is -1.4m (4.7 ft) below sea level.
    • 1988, R. B. Wood; J. F. Talling, “Chemical and Algal Relationships in a Salinity Series of Ethiopian Inland Waters”, in Hydrobiologia: The International Journal of Aquatic Sciences, volume 158, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, ISSN 0018-8158, OCLC 757640392, page 29; reprinted in J. M. Melack, editor, Saline Lakes: Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Inland Saline Lakes, Held at Nairobi, Kenya, August 1985 (Developments in Hydrobiology; 44), Dordrecht: Dr. W. Junk Publishers, 1988, DOI:10.1007/978-94-009-3095-7, →ISBN, abstract, page 29:
      At present there are three major closed systems (Awash R. – Afar drainage, northern rift lakes, southern rift lakes), numerous crater lakes with seepage-in and -out, and two cryptodepressions with marine inputs.
    • [2012, José Galizia Tundisi; Takako Matsumura-Tundisi, “The Origin of Lakes”, in Limnology, Boca Raton, Fla.: CRC Press, →ISBN, section 3.3.10 (Average Slope (α)), page 49:
      The maximum depth of some lakes is below current sea level. Such lakes are called cryptodepressions. Well-known cases of tectonic lakes include Lake Baikal and the Caspian Sea. Some glacial lakes in Norway, Scotland and England are also cryptodepressions.
      Application of the word to the lake as a whole.]


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