Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lake Baikal

Located in Siberia, Lake Baikal contains the worlds largest body of unfrozen fresh water; approximately 20% of the worlds total. And at over 1.6km deep at the deepest point it's also the deepest freshwater lake in the world. And that's not all, it's also believed to be the oldest freshwater lake in the world, with estimates placing it at 25 million years old.

Lake Baikal has formed a rift valley created by the Baikal Rift Zone, a divergent plate boundary. So far geologically, there has been no volcanism associated with the rift underneath the lake, but there are hot springs present both on land and under the lake. Close-by volcanic activity on the Udokan Plateau is believed to be associated with the Baikal Rift.

The climate of the Lake Baikal region averages -19°C in the winter and 14°C in the Summer.

Home to over 1600 species of plant and animal (of which more than 80% are endemic to the region) Lake Baikal was declared a world heritage site in 1996. The Eastern side of the lake is also home to Buryat tribes (The Buryats are the largest indigenous group in Siberia and number around 500,000).

For more information click on the links below.

Image; Cracked Ice on the surface of Lake Baikal by Daniel Kordan

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