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PANTA RHEI

Jungfrau Region's Blogbuster Series / Nr. 65

In English: Everything flows. Not exactly an original formula to start a blogpost about water. Water (H2O) is a chemical compound of the elements oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H), transparent as a liquid and largely colorless, odorless and tasteless. Better? Hardly. And we're looking at a blog post, not a textbook. So let's stick to our adage.

Everything flows. And that starts with the name. «Water» has it’s origin in from the Old English wæter, from Proto-Germanic *watr-, from PIE *wod-or, suffixed form of root *wed-. Which means «water; wet. ». Incidentally The Greek cognate húdōr (‘water’) also belongs to this family – and it is the basis of numerous English words with the prefix hydr.

And of course, water has also been a central element throughout history and has shaped its development - from people settling down to the advanced civilizations of antiquity, through the Middle Ages to modern times. The conflict between too much and too little water, i.e. between flood and drought, was omnipresent. Water was, of course, also a topic in philosophy: Thales of Miletus attributed a number of things to water and even saw it as the origin of all being.

We are straying from the subject again. We do not want to write about history or philosophy. Our claim is simply to list the uniquely diverse water experiences in the Jungfrau Region. So let's get to the point. We also have water - both in its liquid and solid state. In the case of the latter, as we know, we then speak of ice. The eternal ice can also be admired in the Jungfrau Region in summer.

In the next few weeks, we will devote more of our blog articles to water - we will present waterfalls, streams, lakes and gorges.

But for now, this post is about some impressive facts and figures about water in the Jungfrau Region.

8 RESERVOIR LAKES

Grimselsee, Oberaarsee, Räterichsbodensee, Gelmersee, Totensee, Mattenalpsee, Trübtsee und Engstlensee are the names oft he 8 reservoir lakes of Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG.

3 NEW LAKES

Three new lakes have been created by glacial erision: Triftsee, Gaulisee and the glacial lake at the lower Grindelwald glacier. Others will (unfortunately) be added.

1 MYTH

The Jungfrau Region owes a myth to the Reichenbach Falls. Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective of author Arthur Conan Doyle fell to his death here. Resurrection included.

2 OCEANS

At the Grimsel Pass lies the European watershed. The water here flows either through the Aare and Rhine into the North Sea or through the Rhone into the Mediterranean. Or to put it another way: here we could pee in two seas at the same time. Could, because peeing in the wild is forbidden in Switzerland.

20'000 LITERS

The Trümmelbachfalls alone drains the huge glacier walls of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. On peak days, up to 20,000 liters of water per second flow through the Trümmelbach gorge.

72 WATERFALLS

The Lauterbrunnen Valley is the valley of 72 waterfalls.

195'000'000 CUBIC METERS

The eight storage lakes of Kraftwerke Oberhasli AG can store 195 million cubic meters of water. This energy storage corresponds to the same amount of water that almost four million inhabitants of Switzerland consume in their own households per year. Or 975 million bathtubs full to the brim.

11'000'000'000 TONS

Another insane number. The Aletsch Glacier weighs 11 billion tons, which is equivalent to the weight of over 60 million jumbo jets.

228 KILOMETERS

With 288 kilometers, the Aare is the longest river running entirely through Switzerland. It originates as a mountain stream of the two Aar glaciers (Ober- and Unteraargletscher) and flows into the Rhine at Koblenz as a large river.

23 KILOMETERS

With a length of almost 23 kilometers, the great Aletsch Glacier is the largest ice stream in the Alps.

417 METERS

The Mürrenbach Falls is with 417 meters the highest waterfall in Switzerland.

297 METERS

The Staubbach Falls is the highest free-falling waterfall in Switzerland at 297 meters. Even Johann Wolfgang von Goethe dedicated a poem to it.

900 METERS

At Konkordiaplatz, the Aletsch glacier has an ice thickness of about 900 meters.

Photo Credits:

Trümmelbachfälle: Schweiz Tourismus, Yvo Scholz

Gelmersee: Grimselwelt

Konkordiaplatz / Aletschgletscher: Jungfraubahnen

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