List of endorheic basins

The following is a list of endorheic basins – watersheds which do not drain to the sea.

Major endorheic basins of the world. Basins are shown in dark gray; major endorheic lakes are shown in black.




A false-colour satellite photo of Australia's Lake Eyre
Image credit: NASA's Earth Observatory


North AmericaEdit

South AmericaEdit



Some of Earth's ancient endorheic systems include:

  • The Black Sea, until its merger with the Mediterranean
  • The Mediterranean Sea and all its tributary basins, during its Messinian desiccation (5 mya approximately) as it became disconnected from the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Ebro and Duero basins, draining most of northern Spain during the Neogene and perhaps Pliocene.
  • Lake Tanganyika in Africa. Currently at an overflow level and therefore draining into the sea via the Lukuga River, but the lake level has been lower in the past, possibly as recently as 1800.
  • Tularosa Basin and Lake Cabeza de Vaca in North America. Basin formerly much larger than at present, including the ancestral Rio Grande north of Texas, feeding a large lake area.


  1. ^ Houghton, Samuel G. (1994). A trace of desert waters: the Great Basin story. Reno: University of Nevada Press.
  • Africa
    • Thieme, Michelle L. (2005). Freshwater Ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar: A Conservation Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC. pages 24–25.
    • "Cameroon Crater Lakes", World Wildlife Fund [1]
  • Australia
  • Eurasia
    • "Freshwater Fishes of Iran: Drainage Basins" [2]
  • North America
    • "Watersheds" map in the North American Atlas [3]
    • Ricketts, Taylor H., Eric Dinerstein, David M. Olson, Colby J. Loucks, et al. (1999). Terrestrial Ecoregions of North America: a Conservation Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC. pages 26–29.
  • South America
    • Olson, D., Dinerstein, E., Canevari, P., Davidson, I., Castro, G., Morisset, V., Abell, R., and Toledo, E.; eds. (1998). Freshwater Biodiversity of Latin America and the Caribbean: A Conservation Assessment. Biodiversity Support Program, Washington DC., pages xiv–xv, 24–26.