Lake Baikal sets many records including the deepest and oldest lake in the world. Its maximum depth is 1.637 km (1.017 ml). It is believed that the lake was created as a result of tectonic forces with an age estimated at 20-25 million years.
Often referred to as a “sea” Lake Baikal has an enormous character with dimensions that reach beyond view, the opposite coast often disappearing somewhere in a fog.
The name Baikal has numerous theories in origin. Among them, the most likely comes from the Turkic language “Bai-Kul” – meaning the rich lake. Other noticeable versions are: from the Mongolian “Baygal” – rich fire and “Baygal Dalai” fire – big lake. The natives who lived on the shores of the lake called Baikal on its own way.
The water from Lake Baikal is as unique and amazing as Lake Baikal itself. It is extremely clear, pure and full of oxygen. The volume of water in Baikal is about 23 thousand cubic kilometers, comprising 20% of world’s fresh water and 90% of the Russian reserves. Every year the ecosystem of Lake Baikal reproduces about 60 cubic kilometers of fresh, saturated with oxygen water.
Lake Baikal has created its own microclimate because of the numerous mountains and surrounding streams. The climate in Eastern Siberia is extremely continental, but in the Baikal area the winters are warmer and summers cooler than other parts of the same region. The mid-annual temperature of water on the lake surface is +4°С=39.2F but near the coast it reaches between +17°С=62.6F and +23=73.4F (in shallow gulfs) during the summer.
Flora and fauna
Lake Baikal is surrounded by forests and large mountains that are rich with wildlife and flora. The Baikal countryside is charming and gorgeous with more than 2600 species of animals and over 1000 varieties of plant life. It is believed that only 70-80 % of the live organisms occupying Baikal’s waters are known to science. About 40% of plants and 85% of the animals living in Baikal are unique and can be found only here.
Typically sea mammal lives in Baikal’s fresh water – the most unique is the Baikal seal. It is the only fresh water seal in the world. Theoretically, it got into Lake Baikal during the ice age from the Arctic Ocean via the River Amur and Yenisei. Thousands of seals live in Lake Baikal making them popular with tourists. During the summer it is possible to interact with them in central and northern parts of the lake.
Lake Baikal is a tourist’s paradise, attracting millions each year who seek a chance to see the amazing sights of the areas nature. Resorts offer adventures, relaxing vacations and an opportunity for healthy energy. Since ancient times, the water of the Lake Baikal is considered to have medicinal properties and improve health.