The Magic Of Lake Baikal

The Magic Of Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal in Siberia is not your typical lake. It is the longest freshwater lake in the world, measuring 395 miles long and 49 miles broad. It is also the oldest on Earth, with a history that goes back 25 million years. But this lake's uniqueness goes beyond its size and age. More than 3,700 distinct species, many of which are unique to the Baikal region, can be found in Lake Baikal. Because of this, Lake Baikal is frequently referred to as the "Galapagos of Russia."

Another strange truth about Lake Baikal is that it has its own Loch Ness Monster, known as "Lusud-Khan," which means Water Dragon Master, in case its biodiversity hasn't already amazed you. A large sturgeon with a protruding snout and armored plating along its back, that is how it is described. Ancient engravings of the dreadful beast date back hundreds of years in the monster's past. piqued interest We believed it. Here is all the information you require regarding this historic, breathtaking, and enigmatic UNESCO World Heritage site.

A Geographical Experience

Near the Mongolian border, in southern Russia, is where Lake Baikal is situated. It is the deepest lake in the world at 5,300 feet. Lake Tanganyika in east Africa, which is the second-deepest lake, is 4,710 feet deep. At 1,900 feet deep, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. The largest lake on Earth is Lake Baikal, which has an area of 12,200 square miles. By the way, it has a volume comparable to the entire Amazon basin due to its vastness. One water molecule is said to travel from inlet to inlet in around 330 years, just for scale.

How then did Lake Baikal grow to be so large? Lake Baikal was created by cracks and movement in the Earth's crust about 25 million years ago. However, it wasn't Lake Baikal as we know it today. According to experts, it was a chain of lakes akin to the Great Lakes in the United States. Though they don't know for sure how Lake Baikal evolved from a number of smaller lakes to the enormous body it is now, scientists do have theories. Although it's likely a combination of these factors and others, it may have been caused by the earth sinking, erosion, earthquakes, or additional water from melting glaciers.

Although that unifying shift occurred during the Pliocene Epoch, this lake is still expanding. It is growing by 0.7 inches each year, which is the same rate at which South America and Africa are separating from one another. Some scientists think Lake Baikal is genuinely forming an ocean at this rate. Olkhon, one of the 27 islands in Lake Baikal, is the largest, measuring 280 square miles. Olkhon is a town with 1,500 people, a lake, and mountains. In 2005, a cable buried underwater gave locals access to power, and soon after, the internet.

The Lake's Flora And Fauna

In addition to having a staggering diversity of approximately 4,000 species, some refer to Lake Baikal as the "Galapagos of Russia" because 80% of its animal species are unique to the region. The variety of hydrothermal vents in Lake Baikal contributes to its exceptional biodiversity. The only freshwater lake known to contain these hydrothermal vents is Lake Baikal. They are typically found in oceans. How do these hydrothermal vents function then? Through the vents, cold lake water seeps into fissures in the crust of the Earth. The water heats up as it approaches the magma, then returns, resurfacing with heat and minerals.

Some of Lake Baikal's most peculiar species, including as the Baikal oil fish, the Baikal omul fish, and the star of the show, the Nerpa seal species, are a result of these mineral-rich soils. The Nerpa seal is a natural phenomenon just like Lake Baikal. It is the only freshwater-only seal species in the world, and given that there are other seals in the ocean, its evolution is puzzling. Some scientists think it came from the Arctic via a prehistoric river. Along with fish and seals, the forests and mountains near Lake Baikal are also home to bears, elk, reindeer, lynx, wild boar, and, of course, the lake's rumored "Water Dragon Master."

The Natives Living Around The Lake

Lake Baikal is more than just a shelter for wildlife or a natural wonder. It serves as the primary residence for about 100,000 people. There are people from the Buryat, Evenk, and Russian ethnic groups among the population. Forestry, agriculture, fishery, hunting, and tourism are their primary industries. Off-the-grid travel is particularly on the rise as adventure travel does. According to Euro News, the Baikal region receives roughly 30,000 visitors each year. There are a few ways to take advantage of this undiscovered gem, according to Karen Zhao, a local expert and product manager for North & Central Asia at Intrepid Travel. The Trans-Mongolian Experience and Beijing to Moscow, two excursions offered by Intrepid, both feature a stop.

"Staying with a local family or at a local guesthouse near the lake is the finest way to see Lake Baikal; here, you can feel the Baikal hospitality firsthand," she writes in an email. The days end with a visit to the host's banya, a Russian-style sauna, but be warned: These hot-sauna visits end with a "refreshing" dip in the chilly lake. "During the day, you can take a boat tour on the lake, go on a hike on the Baikal trail, visit the larger islands, and also stop at some ethnographic museums and villages." Until it freezes over, that is. But winter also offers its own special brand of adventure. Winter, from late January to early March, when the lake is completely frozen, is also among the greatest times to travel to Baikal, according to Zhao. When the lake is frozen, you may see the lovely transparent blue ice that echoes the color of the sky or see a giant air bubble frozen inside the lake because Baikal is known for its purity of water and on a good day, you can see 40 meters deep into the lake.