Aguelmane

The Berber term 'Aguelmane' or 'Aguelmam' is used only within the Middle Atlas of Morocco. It means a large, permanent, major natural body of water (often 6-40 m deep) and they are often surrounded by upland forest. Of all the North African water bodies, they are the nearest equivalent of a European upland lake. However, sometimes the term daya is also used to indicate this type of lake formation. Lakes are rare in the High Atlas Mountains but in the Middle Atlas

Figure 5 Aguelmane Azigza (Middle Atlas, Morocco) showing cedar forest at the east end of the lake and a large exposed littoral area resulting from several years of drought (photo June 1984).

they are common. They occupy limestone (Lias) basins and persist because of an impermeable clay bottom; Aguelmane Azigza (Green Lake in Berber translation) is a typical example (Figure 5, others are shown in Figure 6). It is fed by precipitation and is subject to large water level changes depending on rainfall quantity and drainage; being located in a karstic landscape, subterranean drainage is common. Some aguelmanes are deprived of vegetation while others support a proliferation of aquatic plants, largely controlled by siltation effects, and/or water levels changes. Where a surface outflow occurs, the water flow is commonly modified by construction of a small barrage to increase the depth and extent of the lakes. Hence, some sites are transformed into 'semiaguelmanes' or artificial lakes, for example, Dayet Aoua in the Middle Atlas of Morocco.

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