Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal
Jezioro Bajkał 2.jpg
Karte baikal2.png
LocationSiberia, Russia
Coordinates53°30′N 108°0′E / 53°30′N 108°0′E / 53.500; 108.000
Lake typeContinental rift lake
Primary inflowsSelenga, Barguzin, Upper Angara
Primary outflowsAngara
Catchment area560,000 km2 (216,000 sq mi)
Basin countriesRussia and Mongolia
Max. length636 km (395 mi)
Max. width79 km (49 mi)
Surface area31,722 km2 (12,248 sq mi)[1]
Average depth744.4 m (2,442 ft)[1]
Max. depth1,642 m (5,387 ft)[1]
Water volume23,615.39 km3 (5,670 cu mi)[1]
Residence time330 years[2]
Shore length12,100 km (1,300 mi)[3]
Surface elevation455.5 m (1,494 ft)
FrozenJanuary–May
Islands27 (Olkhon Island)
SettlementsSeverobaykalsk, Slyudyanka, Baykalsk, Ust-Barguzin
UNESCO World Heritage site
CriteriaNatural: vii, viii, ix, x
Reference754
Inscription1996 (20th Session)
Area8,800,000 ha
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Lake Baikal (Russian: о́зеро Байка́л, tr. Ozero Baykal, IPA: [ˈozʲɪrə bɐjˈkaɫ]; Buryat: Байгал нуур, Baigal nuur; Mongolian: Байгал нуур, Baigal nuur, etymologically meaning, in Mongolian, "the Nature Lake")[4] is a rift lake in Russia, located in southern Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast.

Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake by volume in the world, containing 22–23% of the world's fresh surface water.[3][5][6] With 23,615.39 km3 (5,670 cu mi) of fresh water,[1] it contains more water than the North American Great Lakes combined.[7] With a maximum depth of 1,642 m (5,387 ft),[1] Baikal is the world's deepest lake.[8] It is considered among the world's clearest[9] lakes and is considered the world's oldest lake[10] – at 25–30 million years.[11][12] It is the seventh-largest lake in the world by surface area.

Like Lake Tanganyika, Lake Baikal was formed as an ancient rift valley, having the typical long, crescent shape with a surface area of 31,722 km2 (12,248 sq mi). Baikal is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, many of which exist nowhere else in the world. The lake was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.[13] It is also home to Buryat tribes who reside on the eastern side of Lake Baikal,[14][15] raising goats, camels, cattle, sheep, and horses,[15] where the mean temperature varies from a winter minimum of −19 °C (−2 °F) to a summer maximum of 14 °C (57 °F).[16]

The region to the east of Lake Baikal is referred to as Transbaikalia, and the loosely defined region around the lake is sometimes known as simply Baikalia.

Geography and hydrography

A digital elevation model of Lake Baikal region
The Yenisei River basin, which includes Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is in a rift valley, created by the Baikal Rift Zone, where the Earth's crust is slowly pulling apart.[17] At 636 km (395 mi) long and 79 km (49 mi) wide, Lake Baikal has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in Asia, at 31,722 km2 (12,248 sq mi), and is the deepest lake in the world at 1,642 m (5,387 ft). The bottom of the lake is 1,186.5 m (3,893 ft) below sea level, but below this lies some 7 km (4.3 mi) of sediment, placing the rift floor some 8–11 km (5.0–6.8 mi) below the surface, the deepest continental rift on Earth.[17] In geological terms, the rift is young and active – it widens about 2 cm (0.8 in) per year. The fault zone is also seismically active; hot springs occur in the area and notable earthquakes happen every few years. The lake is divided into three basins: North, Central, and South, with depths about 900 m (3,000 ft), 1,600 m (5,200 ft), and 1,400 m (4,600 ft), respectively. Fault-controlled accommodation zones rising to depths about 300 m (980 ft) separate the basins. The North and Central basins are separated by Academician Ridge, while the area around the Selenga Delta and the Buguldeika Saddle separates the Central and South basins. The lake drains into the Angara tributary of the Yenisei. Notable landforms include Cape Ryty on Baikal's northwest coast.

Baikal's age is estimated at 25–30 million years, making it the most ancient lake in geological history.[11][12] It is unique among large, high-latitude lakes, as its sediments have not been scoured by overriding continental ice sheets. Russian, U.S., and Japanese cooperative studies of deep-drilling core sediments in the 1990s provide a detailed record of climatic variation over the past 6.7 million years.[18][19] Longer and deeper sediment cores are expected in the near future. Lake Baikal is the only confined freshwater lake in which direct and indirect evidence of gas hydrates exists.[20][21][22]

The lake is completely surrounded by mountains. The Baikal Mountains on the north shore, the Barguzin Range on the northeastern shore, and the taiga are technically protected as a national park. It contains 27 islands; the largest, Olkhon, is 72 km (45 mi) long and is the third-largest lake-bound island in the world. The lake is fed by as many as 330 inflowing rivers.[23] The main ones draining directly into Baikal are the Selenga River, the Barguzin River, the Upper Angara River, the Turka River, the Sarma River, and the Snezhnaya River. It is drained through a single outlet, the Angara River.

Water characteristics

Lake Baikal's water is very clear

Baikal is one of the clearest lakes in the world.[9] During the winter in open sections the water transparency can be as much as 30–40 m (98–131 ft), but during the summer it is typically 5–8 m (16–26 ft).[24] Baikal is rich in oxygen, even in deep sections,[24] which separates it from the distinctly stratified bodies of water such as Lake Tanganyika and the Black Sea.[25][26]

In Lake Baikal, the water temperature varies significantly depending on location, depth, and time of the year. During the winter and spring, the surface freezes for 4–5 months; from early January to May–June (latest in the north), the entire lake surface is covered in ice.[27] On average, the ice reaches a thickness of 0.5 to 1.4 m (1.6–4.6 ft),[28] but in some places with hummocks, it can be more than 2 m (6.6 ft).[27] During this period, the temperature slowly increases with depth in the lake, being coldest near the ice-covered surface at around freezing, and reaching about 3.5–3.8 °C (38.3–38.8 °F) at a depth of 200–250 m (660–820 ft).[29] After the surface ice breaks up, the surface water is slowly warmed up by the sun, and in May–June, the upper circa 300 m (980 ft) becomes homothermic (same temperature throughout) at around 4 °C (39 °F) because of water mixing.[24][29] The sun continues to heat up the surface layer, and at the peak in August can reach up to about 16 °C (61 °F) in the main sections[29] and 20–24 °C (68–75 °F) in shallow bays in the southern half of the lake.[24][30] During this time, the pattern is inverted compared to the winter and spring, as the water temperature falls with increasing depth. As the autumn begins, the surface temperature falls again and a second homothermic period at around 4 °C (39 °F) of the upper circa 300 m (980 ft) occurs in October–November.[24][29] In the deepest parts of the lake, from about 300 m (980 ft), the temperature is very stable at 3.1–3.4 °C (37.6–38.1 °F) with only minor annual variations.[29]

The average surface temperature has risen by almost 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) in the last 50 years, resulting in a shorter period where the lake is covered by ice.[12] At some locations, hydrothermal vents with water that can be about 50 °C (122 °F) have been found. These are mostly in deep water, but locally have also been found in relatively shallow water. They have very little effect on the lake's temperature because of its huge volume.[29]

Stormy weather on the lake is common, especially during the summer and fall, and can result in waves as high as 4.5 m (15 ft).[24]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Baikalmeer
Alemannisch: Baikalsee
العربية: بحيرة بايكال
aragonés: Laco Baikal
অসমীয়া: বৈকাল হ্ৰদ
asturianu: Llagu Baikal
azərbaycanca: Baykal
تۆرکجه: بایکال گؤلو
Bân-lâm-gú: Baykal Ô͘
башҡортса: Байкал
беларуская: Байкал
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Байкал
भोजपुरी: बैकाल झील
български: Байкал
Boarisch: Baikalsee
brezhoneg: Lenn Baikal
буряад: Байгал
català: Baikal
Чӑвашла: Байкал
čeština: Bajkal
Cymraeg: Llyn Baikal
Deutsch: Baikalsee
ދިވެހިބަސް: ބައިކަލް ކުޅި
dolnoserbski: Bajkal
Ελληνικά: Βαϊκάλη
español: Lago Baikal
Esperanto: Bajkalo
euskara: Baikal
Fiji Hindi: Lake Baikal
føroyskt: Bajkalvatn
français: Lac Baïkal
Frysk: Baikalmar
Gaeilge: Loch Baikal
Gàidhlig: Loch Baikal
galego: Lago Baikal
한국어: 바이칼호
հայերեն: Բայկալ լիճ
हिन्दी: बयकाल झील
hornjoserbsce: Bajkal
Ido: Baikal
Ilokano: Danaw Baikal
Bahasa Indonesia: Danau Baikal
interlingua: Laco Baikal
Ирон: Байкал
íslenska: Bajkalvatn
italiano: Lago Bajkal
עברית: ימת באיקל
Basa Jawa: Tlaga Baikal
ქართული: ბაიკალი
қазақша: Байкөл
kernowek: Lydn Baikal
Kiswahili: Baikal
Кыргызча: Байкал көлү
кырык мары: Байкал
лезги: Байкал
Latina: Lacus Baical
latviešu: Baikāls
lietuvių: Baikalo ežeras
Livvinkarjala: Baikal
la .lojban.: baikal. zei lalxu
magyar: Bajkál-tó
македонски: Бајкалско Езеро
მარგალური: ბაიკალი
مازِرونی: بایکال
Bahasa Melayu: Tasik Baikal
Mirandés: Lago Baikal
мокшень: Байкал
монгол: Байгал нуур
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဘိုင်ကယ်အိုင်
Dorerin Naoero: Baykal
Nederlands: Baikalmeer
नेपाल भाषा: बैकाल पुखू
日本語: バイカル湖
нохчийн: Байкал
norsk nynorsk: Bajkalsjøen
occitan: Lac Baikal
олык марий: Байкал
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Baykal
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਬਾਈਕਾਲ ਝੀਲ
پنجابی: جھیل بیکال
Piemontèis: Lagh Bajkal
polski: Bajkał
português: Lago Baikal
română: Lacul Baikal
Runa Simi: Paygal qucha
русиньскый: Байкал
русский: Байкал
саха тыла: Баай күөл
sicilianu: Lacu Baikal
Simple English: Lake Baikal
slovenčina: Bajkalské jazero
slovenščina: Bajkalsko jezero
српски / srpski: Бајкалско језеро
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Bajkalsko jezero
svenska: Bajkalsjön
tarandíne: Laghe Bajkal
татарча/tatarça: Байкал
тоҷикӣ: Байкал
Türkçe: Baykal Gölü
Türkmençe: Baýkal
удмурт: Байкал
українська: Байкал
vèneto: Ƚago Baicàl
vepsän kel’: Baikal
Tiếng Việt: Hồ Baikal
Winaray: Danaw Baikal
吴语: 贝加尔湖
粵語: 貝加爾湖
žemaitėška: Baikals (ežers)
中文: 贝加尔湖
Lingua Franca Nova: Lago Baical