Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Location:||northern Burgenland, Hungary|
|Maximum depth:||1.8 m|
|Average depth:||1 m|
|Sea level:||115.45 m|
|Larger towns situated along shore:||Neusiedl am See, Rust|
|Special characteristics:||very flat|
The Neusiedler See (Hungarian: Fertő) is the only steppe lake in Central Europe and is located at the border between Austria and Hungary. The lake extends to 315 km˛, of which 240 km˛ are located on Austrian and 75 km˛ on Hungarian territory. The lake's water basin has about 1120 km˛. From north to south, the lake is about 36 km long, and it is between 6 und 12 km wider from east to west. On average, the lake lies at 115.45 m above the Adriatic Sea and is no more than 1.8 m deep. Rainfall and aridity can cause significant floods and significant decreases in the lake's level respectively. In the past, the lake disappeared completely several times, most recently in the beginning of the 20th century.
Most of the lake is surrounded by reed. Water quality is characterized by the amount of salt and mud emenating from sediments in the ground. During the summer months, there are occasional reed fires, as dry reed is easily inflammable, and fires spread quickly because of the wind.
Before the regulation works of the 19th century, the lake extended in the southest in the marshlands of the Hanság . It was thus closely connected to the Danube and the Raab rivers. Today, the water level is determined by a sluice on Hungarian territory near Mekszikópuszta . Bilateral issues are dealt with by the Austro-Hungarian water commission.
The region of the Neusiedler See and draws significant amounts of tourists. The lake is known as the "Sea of the Viennese," as it offers ample opportunities for sailing and windsurfing. There is also some commercial fishing.
The more important towns lying on the lakes shore are Illmitz , Podersdorf , Weiden , Neusiedl am See, Jois , Winden , Breitenbrunn , Purbach , Donnerskirchen , Oggau , Rust und Mörbisch in Austria and Fertőrákos , Fertőboz , Fertőd , Balf und Mekszikópuszta in Hungary, with the communities of Illmitz , Apetlon und Podersdorf forming the so-called Seewinkel (lake corner), which is located between the lake and the Hungarian border.
As of 2003, the water level is strongly decreasing, having fallen by 30 cm within just one year. This poses a problem for sailing and commercial shipping, as boats hit the ground more and more frequently.
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