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Tônlé Sap(tŏn`lā säp) [great lake], lake, central Cambodia; largest lake of SE Asia. It occupies the depression of the Cambodian plain and is fed by many streams; the Tônlé Sap River, c.70 mi (110 km) long, drains the lake S into the Mekong River near Phnom Pénh. At low water in the dry season (Nov.–May), the lake covers c.1,100 sq mi (2,850 sq km). During the summer floods, however, the waters of the Mekong back up into Tônlé Sap (which forms a natural reservoir) raising the lake's level c.30 ft (9 m) and more than tripling its area. Approximately 2,500 sq mi (6,475 sq km) of surrounding forest are inundated by the floodwaters and provide a breeding ground for fish. The fisheries of the lake are one of Cambodia's major natural resources. The Tônlé Sap lake and river are also part of an important inland waterway system.
(Tonle Sab), a lake in Kampuchea, the largest lake on the Indochinese Peninsula. The area of the Tonle Sap ranges from 2,500–3,000 sq km in the dry winter season to 10,000 sq km or more in the summer monsoon season. The depth of the lake varies from 1–2 m in the winter to 10–14 m in the summer. The Tonle Sap is connected to the Mekong River by the Tonle Sap River. During the Mekong’s high water, the Tonle Sap River flows backward into the lake. At the onset of the dry season, water resumes flowing from the lake into the Mekong, leaving behind a broad area of land enriched with silt; this land is used for cultivation of rice. The Tonle Sap teems with fish, primarily carp and closely related species. The lakeshores are densely populated, and the people live in characteristic pile dwellings. Near the northern shore is Angkor, a group of architectural monuments built between the ninth and 13th centuries.
(Tonle Sab), a river in Cambodia (Kampuchea), a right tributary of the Mekong River. The Tonle Sap River flows out of the lake Tonle Sap. The river is 112 km long and drains an area of approximately 85,000 sq km. Its mean flow rate is 800 cu m per sec. The river is navigable. During the Mekong’s high water, the Tonle Sap flows backward. The city of Kampong Chhnang is situated on the Tonle Sap, and Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia (Kampuchea), is at the river’s mouth.