What is being a water person? Love for water bodies? Urge to go skinny dipping in the shimmering water? Or you know just enchantment with Goa? Well to me it is the sheer peace that blankets every cell of the body when catching a running stream during monsoons or the hypnotising grandeur of the ferociously calming waves of the sea.
And, if you my friend, too belong to this species, you must have heard of Lake Baikal. Please tell me you have!
For the unacquainted (read the mountain person), located in Eastern Siberia, Lake Baikal, is the oldest, biggest, and deepest fresh water lake in the world. Not a surprise since the Russian Far East practically looks like a chapter from Hogwarts.
This very famous wall paper is actually sunset from one of the grottoes at Lake Baikal
The mystical Sayan Mountains, Valley of Geysers (we have to talk about this soon!), and the place at hand, Lake Baikal.
Lake Baikal is estimated to be 25 million to 35 million years old! That’s right. A place of mysteries, legends, and exquisite flora and fauna, Lake Baikal is a reminder of magnificence that this world is. To top it all, this place is home to MANY conspiracy theories and mysteries.
Not getting into the Wikipedia of Lake Baikal, I just want to highlight a few true yet bizarre facts about this place!
Over 2000 earthquakes a year!
Yes, Lake Baikal experiences over 2000 earthquakes a year, and that isn’t even the bizarre I mentioned above. The magnitude of these earthquakes has twice fallen beyond the Richter Scale (which measures from 1 to 10).
In 1862, the fresh water Lake experienced Tsanaskoe earthquake which measured above 10 on the Richter Scale.
One fifth of world’s fresh water is in Lake Baikal
This means that 20 per cent of the total fresh water lies in Lake Baikal. To offer a more vivid picture – Legend Facts once stated last year that, if ALL people on this planet use 500 litres of water every day then the total water of the Lake at any given point of time will last for 40 years.
Bizarre! I know!
Straight out of fairy tales…
You can drive one truck at a time on the frozen lake
Many parts of the lake are completely transparent when the water freezes, giving trekkers a scare of cracking the ice and falling through. But, these sheets of ice are so thick that truckloads can drive on it, one at a time.
At one point, Siberians even tried to lay railway tracks on the frozen lake.
Water Dragon Monster
While there are many mysteries surround Lake Baikal, this one is my favourite. This legend dates back first signs of human life around the Lake. So, Chinese Explorers, who referred to Lake Baikal as North Sea (they thought it was a sea for the longest) were first to see beasts and monsters!
There have been petroglyphs representing a water monster – a lizard like creature with a forked tongue, huge claws, and a plate like armour. Natives of Lake Baikal, Buryat to report seeing black creatures surfacing on the lake.
The scientific reason of course to this is exclusive fishes found only at Lake Baikal and could easily be one of them. Though I would like to believe that Lusud-Khan or Usan-Lobson Khan or Water Dragon Monster does exist.
This is the magnificence I am talking about!
The sheer size
Just to give you an idea…
The entire area of Lake Baikal equals the size of Belgium!
If you measure the depth of the lake in reverse, that is like a towering mountain – it is 12, 977 metres! This is higher than Mount Everest, which is 8,848 meters.
Lake Baikal empties and refreshes itself completely in a gradual process over 383 years! This means the entire water is emptied and refreshed.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. From UFO sightings to insanely beautiful grottoes and ice shafts, Lake Baikal is every bit of magic it sounds to be. Someday, we shall trek up these mystical lands and sit by Lake Baikal. Till then, happy reading!
Neither a wordsmith, nor a traveller! Saloni is an inquisitive soul with a knack of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. But, that’s how memories are made, she believes! An ardent Ruskin Bond fan, she discovered her love for mountains in his words. When not making travel plans, she is hooked to the world of TV series or Googl-ing conspiracy theories. To the world, she is known as Head – Content at Social Samosa. Follow her @SaloniSurti.