Lake Baikal

Baikal is an unique place in the world. It is also called the Pearl of Siberia. It is very beautiful, clean and wonderful. Baikal is the deepest and oldest freshwater lake in the world. It became famous by its oldest age, purest crystalline water, clearest air, variety of plants and animals. And the major part of living organisms are endemics, that are only inhabit in Baikal.

Lake Baikal

Actually, it is a riddle till now, what is the derivation of name Baikal. There are different opinions about the origin of this name. The most popular of them are:

  1. From Mongolian "Baygal dalay", meaning "nature sea";
  2. From Kyrgyz "Baikul", meaning "reach lake";
  3. From Chinese "Beihai", meaning "north sea".

Baikal depth, size and age

Lake Baikal is situated in the south part of Siberia. The age of Baikal is a real wonder because usually lakes live about 10-15 thousand years at most, but the age of Baikal is estimated as 25-30 million years. And, as per scientific researches and forecasts, it is predicted to exist for very long time in future. Baikal has a crescent shape, the length of the lake is more than 600 kilometers, the width is several tens of kilometers, the water area is more than 31 thousand square kilometers. Baikal coastline length is more than 2000 kilometers. Maximum Baikal depth is 1,642 meters that makes Baikal the deepest freshwater lake in the world.

Lake Baikal nature

Baikal water

Another wonder is Baikal water. It contains extremely low quantity of organic admixture. Also, the water is rich in oxygen. Due to this, the lake has a rich variety of plankton including endemic species of plankton which play the role of natural cleaner. That's why Baikal water is so crystal pure. The transparency of water allows you to see the objects on the bottom at the ten-meter depth.

Baikal ice

Baikal ice is also a wonder. Though it is very thick (up to one meter in the end of winter) it is still very transparent. During strong frost the ice cracks and it sounds like loud peal of thunder or roar of big guns. Hearing and observing this phenomenon leaves you pretty strong impression.

Baikal ice gives the scientists a lot of riddles. There was observed the ice cover which has a shape specific to the lake and never seen in other places. For example, the ice hills which have the shape of hollow cone, are of several meters high. Such ice hills can locate separately or make up diminutive mountains chains. Besides, there were observed strange huge dark rings on the surface of ice. Diameter of rings is up to several kilometers. As per one of suppositions of scientists, the reason of this phenomenon is in the convection processes during the water exchange of different layers of water.

Lake Baikal ice

Baikal animals, fish and plants

There are about 1000 unique endemic species of animals and plants in Baikal. The most famous of them are:

  • Epischura. This is a species of crustacea which takes highly important part in the food chain and natural cleaning processes of the lake. It is dominating species of Baikal zooplankton. The Epischura plays the most important role in keeping the lake so clean as it is.
  • Baikal seal (also known as Baikal nerpa). It is a real mystery for scientists till now, how the seal, originally being an oceanic animal, came to the lake which locates thousands kilometers from the ocean. Baikal seal inhabits mostly in the northern and the central part of Baikal. It is pretty curious animal, it can swim up to ships and accompany them coming up from water and observing the interesting object.
  • Golomyanka (also known as Baikal oilfish). It is a unique fish which has a transparent body without scales, looks like it is made of glass. Up to 30-40% of the weight of this fish is oil. Unlike other fish, the golomyanka is the live-bearing fish, it lives alone and does not school. As supposed, the oil of golomyanka was used in traditional mongolian and chinese medicine.
  • Baikal omul. The hot smoked omul is the famous delicacy of Baikal.

Lake Baikal sunset

Baikal is a really unique place and if you have never been here before, you should do it with no doubts. And if you had already come here, you most probably were charmed by this place and want to repeat your travel to Baikal.


+2 #1 Pavel 2012-05-13 15:52
So beautiful!
+1 #2 david klingman 2014-11-09 02:34
for me, Russia is like a different planet. im thankful for this site so I can learn a little more. one of these days im going to try some of the recipies!! thankyou so much!!
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