Top 7 interesting facts about Baikal

7.Not so long ago there were subtropics here

Eight million years ago - nothing by nature's standards - Baikal was a subtropical region, and the average annual temperature was above 24°C. That's about the same as in northern India. Palm trees, magnolias, gingko trees, and even lotuses grew along the shores of the lake.

Now, in the warmest place of the lake, in Sandy Cove, the average annual temperature is only 0.4° C.

In the future, with the coming climate change, Baikal may again enter the subtropical zone.

6.A huge source of pure fresh water

Lake Baikal contains 20% of all the fresh water on the planet.

If each of us wastes 500 liters of water a day, the available capacity of the lake would last the entire human race for 40 years.

Lake Baikal's water is one of the cleanest in the world. What is the reason for this?

One factor is the lake's inhabitants, the crustaceans epischurus, which make up more than 80% of the lake's total biomass. Despite their small size (up to 1.5 mm), they play a major role in water purification.

Eating bacteria and single-celled algae, these crustaceans create a water current and simultaneously form a kind of funnel to catch food particles in the stream. In a day, one individual cleans about a glass of water in this way.

5. the lake is located in a seismically active area

There are regular earthquakes in Baikal. However, the power of shocks usually doesn't exceed 2 points.

But there are cases with serious consequences. The most powerful one happened in 1862. Tsagan earthquake with power of 10 points underwatered 200 square kilometers - 6 Buryat yurts sank, 1300 people died. Nowadays there is a Failure Bay on this place.

Every year up to 8 000 earthquakes take place on the shores of Baikal.

4.A rich world of flora and fauna

Not for nothing in 1996 Lake Baikal together with the coastal area (with a total area of about 8.8 million hectares) was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The lake has a huge (over 2,600 species) diversity of animals, plants and fish, ⅔ of which are endemics and inhabit only here.

Almost the entire area of the freshwater lake is covered with coniferous trees. Most of them are: pine, cedar, spruce, larch, alder.

Of animals can be found wolf, wolverine, ermine, lynx, wild boar, sable, bear, fox, tarbagan, moose and others.

The underwater world of the lake is also rich: Baikal omul, sturgeon, grayling, whitefish, burbot, pike, taimen, etc.

3. no one can swim across Baikal

The lake is shaped like a giant crescent of 636 kilometers long and varies in width from 24 to 79 kilometers.

No one has ever been able to completely swim across Baikal. Not only because of the considerable distance, but also because of the low water temperature.

But there have been attempts to "conquer" the amazing lake:

-August 7, 1988, American Lynn Cox was able to cover a distance of 18 kilometers in 4 hours and 18 minutes;

- In 2004, Japanese Ikarashi Ken was able to swim 30 kilometers in 15 hours;

- On July 20, 2018, the record was broken by a lawyer from Germany, Falk Tischendorf, who swam about 50 kilometers. Previously, the German had overcome the Volga, Yenisei, Lena, Ob, Lake Ladoga and even one of the largest bays of the White Sea.

2.Lake Baikal ice - an amazing wonder of nature

The ice on Lake Baikal in many places is completely transparent.

Walking around in winter, you can easily see what's happening at a depth of 40 meters. Yes, let the bottom is not visible everywhere, but you can see a lot, even small fish.

Another of the beautiful phenomena - the formation of long cracks in the ice over the entire area of the lake. Their appearance is accompanied by rolling sounds that resemble thunder or cannon shots, which is very frightening to tourists.

Many cracks are up to 2 meters wide and up to 10 kilometers long. Thanks to these cracks air enters under the water and allows local aquatic life to survive in winter.

1.There may be mud or gas volcanoes at the bottom of the lake

The winter photos of Lake Baikal taken from space clearly show dark circles 5-7 kilometers in diameter. Scientists believe these to be the result of gas volcanic activity. The gas emitted by them rises to the water surface and peculiar cyclones appear. They are warmer than the temperature of the water, and when the gas reaches the surface of the ice and dark rings form.

Indeed, the ice inside the circles is highly water saturated and it is much thinner than the ice surface elsewhere. Also, the ice on the dark rings has microcracks - indicating that the gas managed to get through it.

By the way, from the Buryat language the word "Bai Gal" translates as "standing fire". It is assumed that millions of years ago our ancestors observed torches of burning methane on Baikal.


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