Destination Detail

Lake Sarez

Rushon District

Lake Sarez, located in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan, was formed by a massive landslide triggered by an earthquake in 1911. The resulting dam blocked the Murgab River, creating the lake. With a volume of about 17 cubic kilometers, Lake Sarez is one of the largest in the region, reaching depths of over 500 meters. It sits at an elevation of around 3,200 meters, surrounded by peaks exceeding 6,000 meters.

The area is seismically active, making the dam a focal point of concern. Various factors, including earthquakes, rising water levels, or a collapse induced by piping, could lead to a catastrophic failure of the dam. Such an event could generate a flood wave that threatens downstream communities, potentially affecting millions of lives and even reaching the Aral Sea.

Access to the area is challenging, with steep mountain slopes and limited infrastructure. This complicates efforts to address the risks posed by the dam. Additionally, the remote location and lack of communication infrastructure make it difficult to implement early warning systems for the surrounding villages.

Despite efforts by Soviet and Tajik scientists to monitor and mitigate the risks, the issue has been sidelined due to political instability, including the civil war in Tajikistan from 1992 to 1997. As a result, the threat posed by Lake Sarez remains a pressing concern for the region.