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Loch Ness

Loch Ness (/ˌlɒx ˈnɛs/; Scottish Gaelic: Loch Nis [l̪ˠɔx ˈniʃ]) is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending for approximately 37 km southwest of Inverness. Its surface is 52 ft above sea level. Loch Ness is best known for alleged sightings of the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster, also known affectionately as "Nessie". It is connected at the southern end by the River Oich and a section of the Caledonian Canal to Loch Oich. At the northern end there is the Bona Narrows which opens out into Loch Dochfour, which feeds the River Ness and a further section of canal to Inverness, ultimately leading to the North Sea via the Moray Firth. It is one of a series of interconnected, murky bodies of water in Scotland; its water visibility is exceptionally low due to a high peat content in the surrounding soil.

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Located in the north of Scotland, Loch Ness is the largest Scottish loch by volume, at an estimated 261,000,000,000 cubic feet, and the second-largest by surface area, a little less than 22 cubic miles. Stretching more than 22 miles southwest from its beginning at Inverness, it appears as a long blue sliver on maps of Scotland—its average width is just a mile. The loch follows the Great Glen Fault, which accounts for its depth and the long, slender, perfectly straight shape of the lakebed, and the rift also accounts for the considerable 754-foot maximum depth. About 686 square miles of land run off into the loch, and some forty streams, rivers, and burns flow into the loch. The area around the loch contains numerous peat bogs; the water is said to be a brownish color due to the peat particles suspended in the water column. Deep-water surveys are difficult and often inconclusive as a result of the murky water.

Contributed by Audrey Coffman

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