Just read an increibble article about lake Baikal, I didn' know this...
Sometimes I feel there is so much to know about stuff!
As it turned out during the research the Baikal in 2016, the largest freshwater source in the world by volume, it seems to have quite a few warm eddies flowing clockwise under the ice.
I love science:) Interesting read btw...
It would be appreciated if you could provide a link to the article you were reading as I am sure some of us here would be interested in it.
It should probably be clarified that Lake Baikal does hold about 20 percent of the Earth’s unfrozen surface fresh water, the largest single volume in the world. However, this pales in comparison to the amount of frozen freshwater that is held in the Antarctic ice sheet, which holds about 90 percent of the fresh water that exists on the Earth’s surface. If you add in the Greenland ice sheet, together the two ice sheets account for more than 99 percent of the fresh water ice on the planet.
That said, Lake Baikal is absolutely fascinating and I wish it were possible to take our ship, the Okeanos Explorer, there to conduct underwater research. The lake does drain into the Yenisei River through the Angara River and ultimately into the Kara Sea at the Arctic Ocean, but this does not provide an eligible passageway for a ship the size of Okeanos Explorer. Besides, the Russians haven’t extended an invitation!
In reading about the Lake’s history, I found that back in the 1890s there was a train ferry, the SS Baikal, that operated on the lake!
What makes Lake Baikal so fascinating is its old age and extreme depth.
From this link:
Lake Baikal is nothing short than a natural wonder. It is the deepest, oldest and largest freshwater lake by volume, containing one fifth of the world’s fresh water.
The 25-million old lake has a maximum depth of 1,642 meters and is a living museum, boasting approximately 1,700 animal and plant species, out of which two thirds are endemic. It is one of the clearest lakes in the world, the biggest lake in Asia and 7th biggest lake in the world by surface area. Its 23,615 cubic kilometers of fresh water surpasses the volume of all the American Great Lakes combined.
Geography and Hydrography
It should come as no surprise then that it’s considered one of the most important natural treasures of the world, with places like the Himalayas, the Alps, the Andes, the Amazon, the Nile, etc. Lake Baikal is a continental rift lake, similar in this regard to Lake Tanganyika, both lakes featuring long crescent shapes. Its body, measuring an area of 31,722 square kilometers, sits between Irkutsk Oblast to the NE and the Buryat Republic to the SE, in Siberia. The lake was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, and is home to Buryat tribes on its East side.
Its surface area makes is roughly equal in size to Belgium, and its length is approximately the same as the distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The smallest width is 25 kilometers at the Selenge River delta, and the greatest width is 79.5 kilometers in the middle of the lake, between Olkhon Island and Nos Peninsula. The lake’s catchment area is 560,000 square kilometers, about the size of France, among which Selenge, it’s biggest inflow among approximately 336, contributes with 447,000 square kilometers. Among these rivers, the most important ones include: Selenga River (1,024 km), Barguzin River (480 km), Upper Angara River (320 km), Sarma River, Turka River and Snezhnaya River.
Its only outflow is Angara River (1,779 km). The lake drains into the Yenisei River through Angara, and ultimately into the Kara Sea at the Arctic Ocean.
Frozen from January to May
The lake is frozen from January until May, and there’s an interesting aspect here too: due to the enormous heat reserve accumulated by the lake and its slow release into the atmosphere, the biggest amount of evaporation happens between October and December, not in July and August, as it’s the case in other boreal lakes from the temperate climate. In June, there’s practically no evaporation effect. This delay is caused by the big temperature difference between the warmer water and cooler air in autumn and early winter. Consequently, the lake freezes at the start of January, even though temperatures drop below freezing starting with November or sometimes earlier. However, the lake is covered in ice even in May, which is a lot considering the lake’s altitude.
One of the Clearest Lakes in the World
The lake’s incredible transparency is an important factor that contributes to the wildlife’s amazing diversity. The lake is one of the clearest in the world, with water transparency reaching 40 meters (131 ft). The presence of light to this depth enhances photosynthesis and plant life.
Even though the lake is very deep, its waters are well-oxygenated and well-mixed, especially if compared to Lake Tanganyika’s stratification. This is due to the lake’s low water temperature, which from 200-250 meters to the bottom stays the same throughout the year, at about 3.5 degrees Celsius.
World’s Deepest Continental Rift
The bottom of Lake Baikal is 1,186 meters below sea level, and an additional 7 kilometers of sediment can be found below the lake bed. This places the rift floor 8 - 11 kilometers below the surface, making it Earth’s deepest continental rift, a rift which is still young and active. The fault zone is active as well, and earthquakes occur every few years. In 1862, after such an earthquake, an area of 200 square kilometers near Selenga’s delta fell apart, forming the Proval gulf. There are also many hot springs in the area.
The lake’s body is divided into 3 basins: North Basin (900 meters in depth), Central Basin (1,600 meters in depth) and South Basin (1,400 meters in depth). The basins are separated by fault-controlled accommodation zones, which rise to depths of approximately 300 meters. The Academician Ridge separates the North and Central basins, while the Central and South basins are separated by the area around Selenga’s Delta and Buguldeika Saddle. Cape Ryty, considered sacred by the local indigenous population, is located on the northwestern coast of the lake.
Another unique trait of the lake is the fact that its sediments have overriding continental ice sheets have not produced scouring of its sediments. It is also the only confined lake in which evidence of gas hydrates exists.
Baikal lake has 27 islands. The most important one is Olkhon Island, which is 72 kilometers long and the third largest island that can be found on a lake.
Edited by OceanBreeze, 29 February 2020 - 03:15 AM.