Lake Baikal

The purest lake in the world

Lake Baikal is a freshwater lake in the south of the Eastern Siberia.
Coordinates: 53° 30′ 0″ N, 108° 12′ 0″ E 53.5, 108.2
Surface elevation: 455 m.
Age: 25–30 million years.
Flora and fauna: Lake Baikal hosts 2600 species of plants and varieties of animals.
Max. depth: 1637 m.
Surface area: 31500 sq. кm.
Water volume: 23.000. cub. кm.
Max. length: 636 кm.
Max. width: 79,5 кm.
Min. width: 27 кm.
Shore length: 2000 кm.
Capes: 174
Islands: 26 Olkhon is the largest island in Lake Baikal
The largest bays: Barguzinskiy (725 sq. кm), Chivyrkuiskiy (270 sq. кm), Proval (197 sq. кm).
Primary inflows: 336
The largest tributary – - Selenga river.
Primary outflows: Angara river.
The water temperature in the open lake in summer: the highest 16 º C, the lowest 0 º C.
The water temperature near the coast: the highest 23 º C in August.
Warmest water in the bays: Muchor, Chivyrkuiskiy zaliv, Posolsky sor.
The period of ice: 15-th of January – 1-th of May.
Period of passenger navigation: from June to September.

Lake Baikal is a marvelous beautiful lake, a unique creation of nature, crystal clear water ... There is no doubt that Baikal is the deepest lake on Earth and everybody knows about it. Baikal's water is unique and surprising, as is the lake itself. It is unusually transparent, pure and saturated with oxygen. In not so distant times it was considered to have curative properties, and was used as a remedy. The age of Baikal, one of the most ancient lakes ever, is estimated at 25-30 million years. While most lakes, especially those of alluvial and glacial origin, exist for 10,000-15,000 years and then are filled with precipitation and vanish from the face of the Earth, Baikal is young throughout a year. Baikal is the lake of superlatives. The deepest, the cleanest, the biggest freshwater supply of the world, the most number of endemic species of flora and fauna. . From the beauty and scale of this natural monument is breathtaking, and the rest on the lake at any time of year leaves only the very good impression and inspires you to return here again and again. In 1997, due to its peculiar qualities, the UNESCO declared Baikal a world patrimony. How well we are informed about this beautiful lake?

The Geography of Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is located almost in the center of Eurasia, in the middle of high mountain ranges of the Baikal area. The length of the lake is 636 km, width - 80 km. The Baikal area is 31 470 km2, which is comparable to the area of Belgium (in this European country with major cities and industrial centers, live approximately 10 million people). Maximum depth of the lake - 1637 km - gives us a right to call Baikal the deepest lake in the world (average depth - 730 m). African Lake Tanganyika, which is one of the deepest lakes in the world, is 200m. shorter than Baikal. Olkhon Island is the largest among thirty islands. Baikal is filled by three hundred thirty-six permanent rivers and streams, with half of the water is brought by Selenga River. Angara River is the only one river, which flows out of Baikal. Just imagine, in ideal conditions (when no one drop from the surface is not get and does not evaporate), Angara, carrying away 60.9 km3 of water annually, should "work" continuously during 387 years to drain the lake! The maximal depth of Baikal noted by sound locators is 1637 meters. In fact, the lake is much deeper, it is located in huge hollow, limited by breaks of the Earth's crust, which enters into the higher cloak of the earth. Bowels under the lake are very heated, and somewhere at the bottom of the lake and on the land by the lake you can find thermal springs. The scientists made the conclusion about tectonic origin of the lake, the development of Baikal's basin continues nowadays. For the last 30 years in the Baikal region there were six earthquakes of point 9-10. The seismographs mark around 3,000 tremors here annually, but they are quite weak.



Baikal’s water

The volume of water in the lake is divided by the quantity of water input . In Baikal's case it looks like this: 23000 cubic kilometres - это превышает объем воды, содержащейся в пяти Великих озерах Северной Америки вместе взятых. The Baikal waters have an exclusive transparency and minimum mineralization and suspended particles of various composition.. It is unusually transparent, pure and saturated with oxygen. The water is so pure that you can drink it straight from Lake Baikal.

The water in Baikal is cold. The temperature in the middle of the summer on the surface reaches 8 - 9 degrees, the rocky coast lines – 12 - 14, on extensive shallowness, in gulfs and sors, the water gets warm up to 18-22 degrees. The temperature of water at depth – not more than 5 degrees In Baikal, a coin is visible up to a depth of 40 metres in the best conditions for observations.

336 permanent rivers and streams flow into Baikal, main rivers – Selenga, Upper Angara, Barguzin. Only one river flows out of the lake, Angara, and the water which Angara river carry out of Baikal, there is in the lake almost four hundred years. During this period all the particulate and organic matter brought by water tributaries, gravitate to the bottom or associated with microorganisms living in the lake - so the water of Lake Baikal is so clean and clear.


Winds - a certain sign of a Baikal climate . They are have their "habit", a strict order and proper names as for the see. For all year a cold air stream bursts down from the mountains (this is how it got its name - in Russian «gorny» is the adjective «mountain») , and there is “sarma” in the district of Olkhon. The wind is blowing from the east - Shelonnik . In autumn and early winter, these winds reach quickly hurricane force - up to 30-40 m / sec. In frost-free period, in the absence of ice over the water expanse of Lake Baikal can walk and "longitudinal" wind south-west "kultuk" north-east "verhovik" or "barguzin. This one and others really “stir the shaft”! The height of the waves on Lake Baikal can reach 4-5 m or even more.. But winds are not able to disturb the all mighty Baikal water column Wind mixing is not deeper 200-250 m. But heated water of the lake suddenly can be gone from banks with winds “gorny” and “shelonnik” .

Because of the huge mass of water the climate of Lake Baikal and its coast has features of sea climate. The winter at the lake is milder and the summer is cooler than in the rest of Siberian territory. In winter on the coast and in the surrounding mountains there is much snow, the frosty weather is not unbearable because of the dry air. In winter the beauty of Baikal is great. Everybody is fascinated by its icy realm of bizarre hummocks and the power of clear dark ice.

In summer bays and inlets are heated to comfortable temperatures and you can enjoy by swimming in the clear, refreshing water. Some areas on its shoreline in the Baikal region have more sunny days per year than the southern coast of Russia. On the west coast in the region of Bolshoe Goloustnoe the Sun shines 2500 hours per year. Olkhon is the biggest island of Baikal has 317 sunny days a year.

Flora and Fauna

The flora and the fauna of Baikal are unique and include various kinds of plants, animals, birds and fishes. Have you ever heard about famous Baikal omul? Besides there are representatives of the salmon family - baikal whitefish, Brachymystax lenok, taimen. . Sturgeons, salmons, pikes, carp, som, cod, perch - this is not an all list of fish families in Lake Baikal. It is worth mentioning that the Baikal seal is the only representative of mammals in the lake. In the autumn on the cost of lake you can see a numerous aggregations of Baikal seals. The seal is not a single inhabitant of the coasts. There are a lot of birds such as: gulls, mergansers, gogols, turpans, ruddys, eagle-tailed eagles, ospreys and others nesting on the shores and islands. in summer time one can observe the brown bears that come out from the taiga-woods and are often seen on the Baikal shore.

Flora and fauna of Baikal is endemic. 848 species (15%) of animals and 133 species of plants (15%) does not meet in any reservoir of the Earth.

About Baikal with love

СCenturies ago, Anton Chekhov, who visited lake Baikal on his way to Sakhalin Island, wrote:

«Baikal is amazing, and not in vain the Siberians call it Sea, not a lake. The water is extraordinary transparent, one can see through it like through the air… They say that in deep places you can see the bottom over a verst below; and I myself have seen to such a depth, with rocks and mountains plunged in the turquoise-blue, that it sent a shiver all over me. Our journey over Lake Baikal was wonderful. I shall never forget it as long as I live».

Our contemporary, the writer Valentin Rasputin:

«The nature has got its favorites that it creates with special care and gives particular power. Without doubt Baikal is one of them... Baikal is glorious and sacred by its life-giving power, spirit not of the past, that is so widely spread nowadays, but of the present, not influenced by time and changes, full of true dignity and preserved might».

Today, all that is connected with Baikal interest people not only in our country but also abroad. Over the last decade Baikal became a magnet for many tourists. A rather well-preserved environment of the region, developing infrastructure - hotels, roads, proximity to transport interchanges is supposed that in future the flow of tourists to the shores of Lake Baikal will only grow.

Come to Lake Baikal! Enjoy its beauty and purity of water, feel that almost mystical energy that gives the sacred lake-sea everyone who comes to his bank.