- Water and ice
- Seismic activity
- Inflow and outflow
- Flora and fauna
The greatest sculptor and architect of all time is nature. The forms created by her are inimitable and unique, and their scale constantly reminds humanity of greatness, beauty and strength. The territory of Russia is very large, which is why in its vastness there are many wonderful creations of nature. The history of their origin is often associated with various myths and legends that are of interest to thousands of people from all over the world. The Russian miracle of nature - Lake Baikal - attracts a huge number of tourists and researchers due to its unique characteristics.
To this day, the origin of the lake and its age cause controversy among scientists. Baikal is the oldest water body on Earth, its formation took place more than 30 million years ago, while lakes of glacial origin similar in type of formation "live" no more than 10-15 thousand years. During this time, irreversible processes of silting or waterlogging occur. In this sense, Baikal is a miracle of nature, its waters are transparent, have the lowest level of organic andmineral compounds, and the coastline is gradually changing towards an increase. The stone bowl, which contains the largest volume of fresh water on the planet, is surrounded on almost all sides by mountain slopes. This deepest basin, located on land, according to many scientists, goes through the earth's crust to the upper layers of the mantle. Therefore, it is generally accepted that tectonic processes led to the formation of a reservoir. When and how this ancient sea arose remains to be seen, but the nature of Lake Baikal raises many questions for mankind.
In the expanses of Eastern Siberia, from the northeast to the southwest, the water surface stretches in the form of a crescent. Lake Baikal is located in Central Asia on the border of the Republic of Buryatia and the Irkutsk region. Its length is 630 km, the width varies from 25 to 80 km. The area of the water space is comparable to the territory of some European states (Holland, Belgium), it is about 32,000 square meters. km. The coastline changes frequently, its maximum length is fixed at around 2200 km. The bottom relief is diverse, there are coastal shelves and underwater ridges, but today Lake Baikal is the deepest lake on the planet. Hydrographic surveys and acoustic sounding of the bottom are carried out regularly. According to the latest confirmed data, the maximum depth is 1642 meters, with an average value of more than 700 meters. The second place among deep-sea lakes is occupied by Tanganyikaand the Caspian (Caspian Sea).
The nature of Baikal at all times amazed people with its primitiveness, diversity and monumentality. The first information about the lake dates back to the 16th century, at that time Siberia attracted researchers as an inexhaustible source of furs, ores of precious metals and stones. Russian embassies sent to China put the great "Ocean Sea" on the map for the first time. At the same time, N. Spafaria for the first time describes the reservoir as Lake Baikal, the flora and fauna of its coast. From the moment of the formation of the Russian Academy of Sciences (1723), by decree of Peter the Great, a purposeful study of the reservoir, the properties of its water, origin, flora and fauna began. Archaeologists, historians, folklorists, geologists, ecologists are conducting fundamental research on Lake Baikal, which is still full of mysteries.
Water and ice
Baikal water is saturated with oxygen, it contains a very small percentage of organic and mineral compounds and can be used as distilled water. In spring, it is as transparent as possible, passes the rays of the sun, has a blue tint, objects at the bottom can be seen at a depth of up to 40 meters. The temperature of the water masses varies depending on the depth: the bottom layers warm up to +4 0С in summer, the surface layers to +9 0С, and in shallow bays the maximum value is +15 0С. Due to the formation of a large amount of bioplankton on the surface, wateracquires a greenish tint, its transparency drops to 8 meters. Ice on Baikal is the subject of study by many scientists. Its thickness reaches 1-1.5 meters, while it is transparent. In coastal areas, splashes and grottoes form in shallow waters; at low temperatures, ice cracks with a characteristic sound resembling a shot or thunder. The unique ice Baikal "hills" are cone-shaped formations with a hollow middle, their height can reach 6 meters. Holes in the hills are located away from the coast. The hills can form a kind of mountain ranges or be located one by one.
Weak earthquakes (1-2 points) are constantly observed on Baikal. Tectonic processes change the bottom topography and the coastal zone. Stronger earthquakes occur quite regularly, their consequences depend on the strength of the shocks. In 1862, as a result of one of them with a capacity of 10 points, the Selenga delta changed, a large populated area of land went under water. The last recorded earthquake with a magnitude of 6 points was noted in 2010. Probably, the growth of the lake is associated with tectonic processes. So, it increases by 2 cm annually.
Inflow and outflow
The volume of Baikal fresh water is about 24,000 km3, more is found only in the Caspian Sea, but it is s alty. The Siberian Sea is fed by a large influx of streams and rivers. Their approximate number is 330-340 pieces and depends on the season. In the spring, during the melting of snow on the surrounding mountainslopes, the number of streams increases significantly. The largest water arteries of Baikal include the Selenga rivers (bringing half the volume of the entire inflow), Barguzin, Upper Angara, Turka, Sarma, etc. The decrease in volume occurs due to the natural process of evaporation from the surface of the lake. The main flow occurs in the Angara. By the way, many legends and tales are associated with this river. People call her a beauty, the only daughter of old Baikal.
Flora and fauna
The nature of Baikal is diverse and unique. The rocky slopes are covered with forest thickets, which are inhabited by a large number of animals: bears, deer, foxes, eagles, etc. In total, scientists count about 2650 species of animals and plants, and 65-70% of them are not found in the world ecosystem, i.e.. are endemic. The uniqueness of the animal world of the lake itself is explained by its oxygen saturation throughout the depth and the ability to self-purify. Epishura crustacean (zooplankton), Baikal seal, viviparous fish golomyanka, omul, sturgeon, grayling, bottom sponges give an idea of the diverse fauna of the lake. A huge mass of lake flora consists of algae that live in various conditions (diatoms, golden, blue-green). The bottom layers, even at the maximum depths, are densely populated; organic matter serves as a source of food for deep-sea inhabitants. According to many indicators (age, water properties, depths, unique animals and plants), the lake is a unique ecosystem on a global scale, which is why protectionnature of Lake Baikal is one of the priorities of our state.
Clash of a rapidly growing civilization and primeval nature, as a rule, ends with the victory of the technogenic world. Even 150 years ago, the banks of the reservoir were impenetrable forests, into which travelers were afraid to enter because of the large number of bears. Today, massive deforestation, river and air pollution, as well as poaching have become a threat to the existence of such a unique ecosystem as the nature of Lake Baikal. Huge harm is caused by factories located on the coast and large towns and cities. A huge step to save the lake was the closure of the pulp and paper mill and the transfer of the oil pipeline to a safe distance from the water area. The level of water pollution with organic and inorganic compounds is very high due to the tributary of the Selenga River. Industrial and municipal effluents, oil products are discharged along its course and enter Lake Baikal. Nature conservation and protection of the ecological system is currently carried out on the basis of a federal law adopted in 1999. It regulates the types of activities that are allowed to be carried out on the lake. In fact, all coastal zones and Baikal itself should become a huge nature reserve, in which civilized conditions for recreation, tourism and ecosystem research will be organized. In 1996, the lake was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, that is, it received the status of a monument protected by mankind.
The beautiful nature of Baikal annually attracts a large number of people. The most popular destination is ecotourism, hiking and horseback riding in protected areas are in high demand among foreigners. Active types of recreation are also in demand (mountain skiing, boating and catamarans on Baikal, etc.). But still, most tourists come here to look at this miracle of nature. Baikal is always different: the serene expanse of the lake is replaced by storms, the unique climate and the beauty of coastal forests can be observed for hours. The number of attractions created by nature and man is large, archaeological, cultural and historical sites are located along the route of tourist routes.