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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