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Lake Baikal, the Deepest and Oldest Lake on Earth

Lake Baikal in southern Siberia, Russia is the deepest and oldest lake on Earth -it was formed about 20-25 million years ago- but there’s more about the Baikal that will leave you speechless.

Here are some facts about this amazing place:

1) Lake Baikal is not just the deepest lake in the world (with a maximum depth of 1,632m), but also have the record of being the world’s largest volume of fresh water: 23,000 cubic km; One-fifth of ALL the fresh water in the whole world is in that lake.

2) The lake isn’t just water, there are at least 27 rocky islands in it, and one of them is the world’s second largest island in a lake.

3) This lake is one of the purest and clearest bodies of fresh water, and is even possible to see 40m into the lake in a good day; besides, the water of the Lake Baikal actually creates a microclimate around its shores, and that causes that more than half of the endemic species founded in this lake are unique in the world (about 1455 animal species), and the lake’s water is completely renewed every approximately 383 years.

Crystal-clear water in Lake Baikal


4) But the lake is not only famous by it’s clear and fresh water, because the lake freezes during the winter, you could see one of the most beautiful and amazing phenomena in the world: large shards of transparent ice form all around the surface of the lake, and it looks like turquoise ice, standing amount the snow and this looks as beautiful as it sounds, and, in some places of the lake, the ice is completely transparent, but is really thick so you won’t fall off, and actually, is so thick that people can drive trucks on it without any risk.

Turquoise Ice of Baikal

5) The Lake Baikal holds the 20% of all the fresh water in the world, so if every person on the planet earth spends on 500 liters of water per day, the lake’s available capacity probably would last for 40 years. but not just that, is the purest freshwater water on the planet, and nearly 544 different watercourses flow into the lake, from rivers to stream, being most of them just seasonal.

6) Despite there are not any active volcanoes on Lake Baikal, there are actually about a hundred gas or mud volcanoes, and this gas volcanoes, and it has been documented mass emition of natural gas many times, so it is important to the travelers take measures to reduce all the potential danger exposure.

7) There are many mountains around Lake Baikal, but they are not ordinary mountains, as they are in constant motion as they go up or down constantly; the North-Muya ridge has the biggest speed of movement, as go +2.7 cm per year, and this have nothing to do with earthquakes, as this kind of earth movements are not as common happen to the lake.

8) Speaking of earthquakes, there has been some really strong earthquakes in the lake’s history: the “Tsanaskoe earthquake” in 1862 was more than 10 points, and cause that 200-square km of land, where more than 1,300 people lived, went underwater. And in 1959 the bottom of Lake Baikal went 20m down because of a 9.5 points earthquake.

9) Earthquakes is not the only thing that can cause an impact, as some serious storms take place in the lake, and causes waves of at least 4-5 meter high.

10) The lake’s area is about equal to the area of Belgium, and it’s coastline measures 2,100 kilometers (about 1300 miles); actually, the Lake Baikal’s dimensions are 79 km wide, 636 km long, and it is possible find many grottoes on the shores, and in winter you can find beautiful icicles inside them.

Lake Baikal in winter


11) When the Lake Baikal is observed from space, you can easily observe down to 500 meters, and from time to time some dark rings can be found on the ice, and these rings have a diameter of 5-7 kilometers and appear in the same exact places, but not during all the year, the scientist think that this rings are product of the gas volcanoes at the bottom of the lake.

12) The river that flows from the Lake Baikal, the Angara, is as impressive as the lake, having a width of 1 km.

All images for this article via lifefoc.com