Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva

lake_name = Lake Geneva
image_lake = Genfersee satellit.jpg
caption_lake = Satellite image
image_bathymetry = | caption_bathymetry =
location = Switzerland, France
coords = coord|46|26|N|6|33|E|region:CH/FR_type:waterbody|display=inline,title
type =
inflow = Rhone, Venoge, Dranse, Aubonne
outflow = Rhone
residence_time = 11.4 years
catchment = 7,975 km² (3,079 mi²)
basin_countries = Switzerland, France
length = convert|73|km|mi|abbr=on
width = convert|14|km|mi|abbr=on
area = 582 km² (225 mi²)
depth = 154.4 m
max-depth = 310 m
volume = 89 km³
shore =
elevation = 372 m
islands = Ile de la Harpe, Ile de Peilz (islets)
cities = Geneva (CH), Lausanne (CH), Evian (F), Montreux (CH), Thonon (F), Vevey (CH) ("see list")

Lake Geneva or Lake Léman ( _fr. Lac Léman, Léman, Lac de Genève) is the second largest freshwater lake in Central Europe in terms of surface area (after Lake Balaton). 60% of it comes under the jurisdiction of Switzerland (cantons of Vaud, Geneva, and Valais), and 40% under France (Haute-Savoie).

The crescent-shaped lake, formed by a withdrawing glacier, narrows around Yvoire on the southern shore, the lake can thus be divided into the "Grand Lac" (Large Lake) to the east and the "Petit Lac" (Small Lake) to the west.

It lies on the course of the Rhône River. The river has its source at the Rhone Glacier near the Grimsel Pass to the east of the lake and flows down through the Canton of Valais, entering the lake between Villeneuve and St. Gingolph, before flowing slowly towards its egress at Geneva. Other tributaries are La Dranse, L'Aubonne, La Morges, Venoge, and Veveyse.

By the 1960s, the lake had ceased being a transport artery for commercial and construction materials.Fact|date=August 2008 In the late 1960s pollution made it dangerous to swim at some beaches of the lake; indeed, tourists taking a ride in the local submarine had near zero visibility (it was eventually sold).Fact|date=August 2008 By the 1980s, intense environmental pollution (eutrophication) had almost wiped out all the fish.Fact|date=August 2008 Today, pollution levels have been dramatically cut back, and it is again considered safe to swim in the lake.Fact|date=August 2008 Major leisure activities practiced include sailing, wind surfing, boating (including water skiing and wakeboarding), rowing, scuba diving and bathing.

As an interesting historical and scientific footnote, in 1827, Lake Geneva was the site for the first measurement of the speed of sound in (fresh) water. French mathematician Jacques Charles François Sturm and Swiss Physicist Daniel Collodon used two moored boats, separated by a measured distance, as the transmit and receive platforms for the sounds of exploding gunpowder. The loud airborne sound coupled into the lake, establishing a loud underwater sound that could be measured at a distance. The flash of the exploding gunpowder provided the visual starting cue for the timepiece, and the underwater explosion sound striking a bell provided the finish cue.Fact|date=August 2008

The shore between Nyon and Lausanne is called "La Côte" because it is "flatter". Between Lausanne and Vevey it is called "Lavaux" and is famous for its hilly vineyards. Fact|date=August 2008


The first recorded name of the lake is "Lacus Lemannus" from Roman times; it became "Lacus Lausonius", although this name was also used for a town or district on the lake, "Lacus Losanetes" and then the "Lac de Lausanne" in the Middle Ages. Following the rise of Geneva it became "Lac de Genève" (translated into English as "Lake Geneva"). In the 18th century, "Lac Léman" was revived in French. It is often called "Lac de Genève" in Geneva [] [] and "Lac Léman" elsewhere but the customary name in French is now "Lac Léman". Certain maps name the lake the "Lac d'Ouchy" (after the port located on the Lausanne lake shore). Facts|date=March 2008 In contemporary English, the name "Lake Geneva" is predominant.

A note on pronunciation (in the ) —: English: "Lake Geneva" IPA|/leɪk dʒəˈni:və/: French: "Lac Léman" IPA| [lak leˈmɑ̃] or "Lac de Genève" IPA| [lak dø ʒøˈnɛv] : German: "Genfersee" or "Genfer See" IPA| [ˈgɛnfəʁˈzeː] : Italian: "Lago Lemano", "Lago di Ginevra" IPA| [ˈlago di dʒiˈnɛvra] .


* Mary and Percy Shelley and Lord Byron holidayed by the lake and wrote ghost stories; one of which was the basis for the novel Frankenstein.Fact|date=August 2008
* Vladimir Lenin rented a little "chalet" at the French bank, near Geneva.Fact|date=August 2008
* Pop singer Phil Collins lives in a home overlooking the lake.Fact|date=August 2008
* Ex-Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher lives with his family in a home overlooking the lake.Fact|date=August 2008

Cities and places


External links

* [ International Commission for the Protection of Lake Geneva (CIPEL)]
* [ Les ports du lac Léman] fr icon guide to the lake's harbours
* [ CGN Compagnie Générale de Navigation sur le lac Léman]
* [] fr icon A site with stacks of information for scuba diving
* [ The official site of the Geneva police of the lake] with lots of information
* [ Waterlevels Lake Geneva] at Chillon
* [ Waterlevels Lake Geneva] at Saint-Prex
* [ Waterlevels Lake Geneva] at Geneva

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