Lake Baikal (Russian: о́зеро Байка́л, tr. Ozero Baykal,
IPA: [ˈozʲɪrə bɐjˈkaɫ]; Russian Buryat: Байгал
нуур, Baigal nuur; Mongolian: Байгал нуур, Baigal nuur,
etymologically meaning, in Mongolian, "the Nature Lake") 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. With
23,615.39 km3 (5,670 cu mi) of fresh water, it
contains more water than the North American
Great Lakes combined.
With a maximum depth of 1,642 m (5,387 ft), Baikal is the
world's deepest lake. It is considered among the world's
clearest lakes and is considered the world's oldest lake – at
25–30 million years. 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
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site in
1996. It is also home to Buryat tribes who reside on the eastern
side of Lake Baikal, rearing goats, camels, cattle, and
sheep, where the mean temperature varies from a winter minimum of
−19 °C (−2 °F) to a summer maximum of 14 °C
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
1 Geography and hydrography
1.1 Water characteristics
2 Fauna and flora
2.4.2 Snails and bivalves
2.4.3 Annelid, nematode and flat worms
6 Environmental concerns
6.1 Baykalsk Pulp and Paper Mill
6.2 Planned East Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline
6.3 Proposed nuclear enrichment plant
6.4 Other pollution sources
7 Historical traditions
8 See also
11 External links
Geography and hydrography
A digital elevation model of
Lake Baikal region
Yenisei River basin, which includes Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is in a rift valley, created by the Baikal
where the Earth's crust is slowly pulling apart. 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. 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
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. 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. 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
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. 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.
Baikal is one of the clearest lakes in the world. 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). Baikal is rich in
oxygen, even in deep sections, which separates it from the
distinctly stratified bodies of water such as
Lake Tanganyika and the
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. On average, the ice reaches a thickness of 0.5 to
1.4 m (1.6–4.6 ft), but in some places with hummocks,
it can be more than 2 m (6.6 ft). 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). 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. 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 and
20–24 °C (68–75 °F) in shallow bays in the southern
half of the lake. 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. 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
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. 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.
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).
Lake Baikal as seen from the
Spring ice melt underway on Lake Baikal, on 4 May: Notice the
ice-covered north, while much of the south already is ice-free.
Circle of thin ice, diameter of 4.4 km (2.7 mi) at the
lake's southern tip, probably caused by convection
Delta of the Selenga River, Baikal's main tributary
Mountains seen from the banks of Baikal
Fauna and flora
Baikal seal is endemic to Lake Baikal.
Lake Baikal is rich in biodiversity. It hosts more than 1,000 species
of plants and 2,500 species of animals based on current knowledge, but
the actual figures for both groups are believed to be significantly
higher. More than 80% of the animals are endemic.
The watershed of
Lake Baikal has numerous floral species represented.
The marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre) is found here at the eastern
limit of its geographic range.
Submerged macrophytic vascular plants are mostly absent, except in
some shallow bays along the shores of Lake Baikal. More than 85
species of submerged macrophytes have been recorded, including genera
such as Ceratophyllum, Myriophyllum, Potamogeton, and Sparganium.
The invasive species
Elodea canadensis was introduced to the lake in
the 1950s. Instead of vascular plants, aquatic flora is often
dominated by several green algae species, notably Draparnaldioides,
Ulothrix in water shallower than 20 m
(65 ft), although Aegagrophila, Cladophora, and Draparnaldioides
may occur deeper than 30 m (100 ft). Except for
Ulothrix, endemic Baikal species are in all these green algae
genera. More than 400 diatom species, both benthic and planktonic,
are found in the lake, and about half of these are endemic to Baikal;
however, significant taxonomic uncertainties remain for this
Baikal seal or nerpa (Pusa sibirica) is found throughout Lake
Baikal. It is one of only three entirely freshwater seal
populations in the world, the other two being subspecies of ringed
A wide range of land mammals can be found in the habitats around the
lake, such as brown bear, wolf, red fox, sable, stoat, moose, Siberian
red deer, reindeer, Siberian roe deer, Siberian musk deer, wild boar,
red squirrel, Siberian chipmunk, marmot, lemming, and Alpine hare.
Until the Early Middle Ages, the wisent (European bison) was present
near the lake, which was the easternmost part of its range.
Two species of grayling (
Thymallus baikalensis and T. brevipinnis) are
found only in Baikal and rivers that drain into the lake.
Fewer than 65 native fish species occur in the lake basin, but more
than half of these are endemic. The families Abyssocottidae
Comephoridae (golomyankas or Baikal oilfish),
Cottocomephoridae (Baikal sculpins) are entirely restricted to the
lake basin. All these are part of the
Cottoidea and are
typically less than 20 cm (8 in) long. Of particular
note are the two species of golomyanka (Comephorus baicalensis and C.
dybowskii). These long-finned, translucent fish typically live in open
water at depths of 100–500 m (330–1,640 ft), but occur
both shallower and much deeper. Together with certain abyssocottid
sculpins, they are the deepest living freshwater fish in the world,
occurring to near the bottom of Lake Baikal. The golomyankas are
the primary prey of the
Baikal seal and represent the largest fish
biomass in the lake. Beyond members of Cottoidea, there are few
endemic fish species in the lake basin.
The omul (
Coregonus migratorius) is endemic to Lake Baikal, and is a
source of income to locals.
The most important local species for fisheries is the omul (Coregonus
migratorius), an endemic whitefish. It is caught, smoked, and then
sold widely in markets around the lake. Also, a second endemic
whitefish inhabits the lake, C. baicalensis. The Baikal black
Thymallus baicalensis), Baikal white grayling (T.
Baikal sturgeon (Acipenser baerii baicalensis) are
other important species with commercial value. They are also endemic
Lake Baikal basin.
The lake hosts a rich endemic fauna of invertebrates. Epischura
baikalensis is endemic to
Lake Baikal and the dominating zooplankton
species there, making up 80 to 90% of total biomass.
Among the most diverse invertebrate groups are the amphipod
crustaceans, freshwater snails, annelid worms, and turbellarian worms:
A "giant" Brachyuropus reicherti (Acanthogammaridae) amphipod caught
during ice fishing in the lake. Red-orange is its natural, living
More than 350 species and subspecies of amphipods are endemic to the
lake. They are exceptionally diverse in ecology and appearance,
ranging from the pelagic Macrohectopus to the relatively large
deep-water Abyssogammarus and Garjajewia, the tiny herbivorous
Micruropus, and the parasitic Pachyschesis (parasitic on other
amphipods). The "gigantism" of some Baikal amphipods, which has
been compared to that seen in Antarctic amphipods, has been linked to
the high level of dissolved oxygen in the lake. Among the "giants"
are several species of spiny Acanthogammarus and Brachyuropus
(Acanthogammaridae) found at both shallow and deep depths. These
conspicuous and common amphipods are essentially carnivores (will also
take detritus), and can reach a body length up to 7 cm
Snails and bivalves
As of 2006[update], almost 150 freshwater snails are known from Lake
Baikal, including 117 endemic species from the subfamilies Baicaliinae
(part of the Amnicolidae) and Benedictiinae (part of the
Lithoglyphidae), and the families
Planorbidae and Valvatidae. All
endemics have been recorded between 20 and 30 m (66 and
98 ft), but the majority mainly live at shallower depths.
About 30 freshwater snail species can be seen deeper than 100 m
(330 ft), which represents the approximate limit of the sunlight
zone, but only 10 are truly deepwater species. In general, Baikal
snails are thin-shelled and small. Two of the most common species are
Benedictia baicalensis and Megalovalvata baicalensis. Bivalve
diversity is lower with more than 30 species; about half of these, all
in the families Euglesidae, Pisidiidae, and Sphaeriidae, are endemic
(the only other family in the lake is the
Unionidae with a single
nonendemic species). The endemic bivalves are mainly found in
shallows, with few species from deep water.
Annelid, nematode and flat worms
With almost 200 described species, including more than 160 endemics,
the center of diversity for aquatic freshwater oligochaetes is Lake
Baikal. A smaller number of other freshwater annelids is known: 13
species of leeches (Hirudinea) and four polychaetes. Several
hundred species of nematodes are known from the lake, but a large
percentage of these are undescribed. More than 140 endemic flat
worm (Plathelminthes) species are in Lake Baikal, where they occur on
a wide range of bottom types. Most of the flat worms are
predatory, and some are relatively brightly marked. They are often
very abundant in shallow waters, where they are typically less than
2 cm (1 in) long, but in deeper parts of the lake, the
largest, Baikaloplana valida, can reach up to 30 cm (1 ft)
At least 18 species of sponges occur in the lake, including 14
species from the endemic family
Lubomirskiidae (the remaining are from
the nonendemic family Spongillidae). In the nearshore regions of
Baikal, the largest benthic biomass is sponges. Lubomirskia
baicalensis, Baikalospongia bacillifera, and B. intermedia are
unusually large for freshwater sponges and can reach 1 m
(3.3 ft) or more. These three are also the most common
sponges in the lake. While the Baikalospongia species typically
have encrusting or carpet-like structures, L. baikalensis often has
branching structures and in areas where common may form underwater
"forests". Most sponges in the lake are typically green when alive
because of symbiotic chlorophytes (zoochlorella), but can also be
brownish or yellowish.
The Baikal area, sometimes known as Baikalia, has a long history of
human habitation. An early known tribe in the area was the Kurykans,
forefathers of two ethnic groups: the
Buryats and the Yakuts.[citation
Located in the former northern territory of the
Lake Baikal is one site of the Han–
Xiongnu War, where the armies of
Han dynasty pursued and defeated the
Xiongnu forces from the
second century BC to the first century AD. They recorded that the lake
was a "huge sea" (hanhai) and designated it the North Sea (Běihǎi)
of the semimythical Four Seas. The Kurykans, a Siberian tribe who
inhabited the area in the sixth century, gave it a name that
translates to "much water". Later on, it was called "natural lake"
(Baygal nuur) by the
Buryats and "rich lake" (Bay göl) by the
Yakuts. Little was known to Europeans about the lake until Russia
expanded into the area in the 17th century. The first Russian explorer
Lake Baikal was
Kurbat Ivanov in 1643.
Russian expansion into the Buryat area around Lake Baikal in
1628–58 was part of the Russian conquest of Siberia. It was done
first by following the
Angara River upstream from
1619) and later by moving south from the Lena River. Russians first
heard of the
Buryats in 1609 at Tomsk. According to folktales related
a century after the fact, in 1623, Demid Pyanda, who may have been the
first Russian to reach the Lena, crossed from the upper Lena to the
Angara and arrived at Yeniseysk.
Vikhor Savin (1624) and
Maksim Perfilyev (1626 and 1627–28) explored
Tungus country on the lower Angara. To the west,
Krasnoyarsk on the
Yenisei was founded in 1627. A number of ill-documented
expeditions explored eastward from Krasnoyarsk. In 1628, Pyotr Beketov
first encountered a group of
Buryats and collected yasak (tribute)
from them at the future site of Bratsk. In 1629, Yakov Khripunov set
off from Tomsk to find a rumored silver mine. His men soon began
plundering both Russians and natives. They were joined by another band
of rioters from Krasnoyarsk, but left the Buryat country when they ran
short of food. This made it difficult for other Russians to enter the
area. In 1631,
Maksim Perfilyev built an ostrog at Bratsk. The
pacification was moderately successful, but in 1634,
destroyed and its garrison killed. In 1635,
Bratsk was restored by a
punitive expedition under Radukovskii. In 1638, it was besieged
In 1638, Perfilyev crossed from the Angara over the Ilim portage to
Lena River and went downstream as far as Olyokminsk. Returning, he
sailed up the
Vitim River into the area east of
Lake Baikal (1640)
where he heard reports of the Amur country. In 1641, Verkholensk was
founded on the upper Lena. In 1643,
Kurbat Ivanov went further up the
Lena and became the first Russian to see
Lake Baikal and Olkhon
Island. Half his party under Skorokhodov remained on the lake, reached
Upper Angara at its northern tip, and wintered on the Barguzin
River on the northeast side.
In 1644, Ivan Pokhabov went up the Angara to Baikal, becoming perhaps
the first Russian to use this route, which is difficult because of the
rapids. He crossed the lake and explored the lower Selenge River.
About 1647, he repeated the trip, obtained guides, and visited a
'Tsetsen Khan' near Ulan Bator. In 1648, Ivan Galkin built an ostrog
Barguzin River which became a center for eastward expansion. In
1652, Vasily Kolesnikov reported from Barguzin that one could reach
the Amur country by following the Selenga, Uda, and Khilok Rivers to
the future sites of Chita and Nerchinsk. In 1653,
Pyotr Beketov took
Kolesnikov's route to Lake Irgen west of Chita, and that winter his
man Urasov founded Nerchinsk. Next spring, he tried to occupy
Nerchensk, but was forced by his men to join Stephanov on the Amur.
Nerchinsk was destroyed by the local Tungus, but restored in
Trans-Siberian Railway was built between 1896 and 1902.
Construction of the scenic railway around the southwestern end of Lake
Baikal required 200 bridges and 33 tunnels. Until its completion, a
train ferry transported railcars across the lake from
Port Baikal to
Mysovaya for a number of years. The lake became the site of the minor
engagement between the
Czechoslovak legion and the
Red Army in 1918.
At times during winter freezes, the lake could be crossed on foot,
though at risk of frostbite and deadly hypothermia from the cold wind
moving unobstructed across flat expanses of ice. In the winter of
Great Siberian Ice March occurred, when the retreating White
Russian Army crossed frozen Lake Baikal. The wind on the exposed lake
was so cold, many people died, freezing in place until spring thaw.
Beginning in 1956, the impounding of the
Irkutsk Dam on the Angara
River raised the level of the lake by 1.4 m (4.6 ft).
As the railway was built, a large hydrogeographical expedition headed
by F.K. Drizhenko produced the first detailed contour map of the lake
Buryat shaman on
Russian map circa 1700, Baikal (not to scale) is at top
Steam locomotive on the circum-Baikal railroad
The eastern coast of Lake Baikal
Baikal fishermen fish for 15 commercially used species. The omul,
found only in Baikal, accounts for most of the catch.
Several organizations are carrying out natural research projects on
Lake Baikal. Most of them are governmental or associated with
governmental organizations. The
Baikalian Research Centre is an
independent research organization carrying out environmental
educational and research projects at Lake Baikal.
In July 2008,
Russia sent two small submersibles, Mir-1 and Mir-2, to
descend 1,592 m (5,223 ft) to the bottom of
Lake Baikal to
conduct geological and biological tests on its unique ecosystem.
Although originally reported as being successful, they did not set a
world record for the deepest freshwater dive, reaching a depth of only
1,580 m (5,180 ft). That record is currently held by
Anatoly Sagalevich, at 1,637 m (5,371 ft) (also in Lake
Baikal aboard a Pisces submersible in 1990). Russian scientist
and federal politician Artur Chilingarov, the leader of the mission,
took part in the Mir dives as did Russian leader Vladimir
Since 1993, neutrino research has been conducted at the Baikal Deep
Neutrino Telescope (BDUNT). The Baikal
NT-200 is being deployed in Lake Baikal, 3.6 km (2.2 mi)
from shore at a depth of 1.1 km (0.68 mi). It consists of
192 optical modules.
Sunset on Lake Baikal
The lake, nicknamed "the Pearl of Siberia", drew investors from the
tourist industry as energy revenues sparked an economic boom.
Viktor Grigorov's Grand Baikal in
Irkutsk is one of the investors, who
planned to build three hotels, creating 570 jobs. In 2007, the Russian
government declared the Baikal region a special economic zone. A
popular resort in Listvyanka is home to the seven-story Hotel Mayak.
At the northern part of the lake, Baikalplan (a German NGO) built
together with Russians in 2009 the Frolikha Adventure Coastline Track,
a 100 km (62 mi)-long long-distance trail as example for a
sustainable development of the region. Baikal was also declared a
World Heritage site in 1996.
Rosatom plans to build a
laboratory near Baikal, in conjunction with an international uranium
plant and to invest $2.5 billion in the region and create 2,000 jobs
in the city of Angarsk.
Lake Baikal is a popular destination among tourists from all over the
world. According to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, in
2013, 79,179 foreign tourists visited
Irkutsk and Lake Baikal; in
2014, 146,937 visitors. The most popular places to stay by the lake
are Listvyanka village,
Olkhon island, Kotelnikovsky cape, Baykalskiy
Priboi, resort Khakusy and Turka village. The popularity of Lake
Baikal is growing from year to year, but there is no developed
infrastructure in the area. For the quality of service and comfort
from the visitor's point of view,
Lake Baikal still has a long way to
The ice road to
Olkhon Island is the only legal ice road on Lake
Baikal. The route is prepared by specialists every year and it opens
when the ice conditions allow it. In 2015, the ice road to
open from February 17 to March 23. The thickness of the ice on the
road is about 60 cm (24 in), maximum capacity allowed –
10 t (9.8 long tons; 11 short tons); it is open to the public
from 9 am to 6 pm. The road through the lake is 12 km
(7.5 mi) long and it goes from the village Kurkut on the
mainland, to Irkutskaya Guba on
Baykalsk Pulp and Paper Mill
Baykalsk Pulp and Paper Mill
Baykalsk Pulp and Paper Mill
Baykalsk Pulp and Paper Mill was constructed in 1966, directly on
the shoreline of Lake Baikal, the plant bleached paper using chlorine
and discharged waste directly into Lake Baikal. The decision to
construct the plant on the
Lake Baikal resulted in strong protests
from Soviet scientists, according to them, the ultra-pure water of the
lake was a significant resource and should have been used for
innovative chemical production (for instance, the production of
high-quality viscose for the aeronautics and space industries). The
Soviet scientists felt that it was irrational to change Lake Baikal's
water quality by beginning paper production on the shore. It was their
position that it was also necessary to preserve endemic species of
local biota, and to maintain the area around
Lake Baikal as a
recreation zone . However, the objections of the Soviet scientists
faced opposition from the industrial lobby and only after decades of
protest, the plant was closed in November 2008 due to
unprofitability. In March 2009, the plant owner announced the
paper mill would never reopen. However, on January 4, 2010,
production was resumed. Later that year on January 13, 2010, Russian
Vladimir Putin introduced changes in the
legislation legalising the operation of the plant, this action brought
about a wave of protests from ecologists and local residents.
These changes were based on the determination President Putin made
through a visual verification of Lake Baikal's condition from a
miniature submarine, "I could see with my own eyes – and scientists
can confirm – Baikal is in good condition and there is practically
no pollution". Despite this, in September 2013, the mill underwent
a final bankruptcy, with the last 800 workers slated to lose their
jobs by December 28, 2013. On the day the plant was to close,
December 28, 2013, the Russian government announced plans to build the
Russian Nature Reserve's Expo Center in place of the closed paper
Planned East Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline
The lake in the winter, as seen from the tourist resort of Listvyanka:
The ice is thick enough to support pedestrians and snowmobiles.
Main article: Eastern Siberia–Pacific Ocean oil pipeline
Russian oil pipelines state company Transneft was planning to
build a trunk pipeline that would have come within 800 m
(2,600 ft) of the lake shore in a zone of substantial seismic
activity. Environmental activists in Russia, Greenpeace, Baikal
pipeline opposition and local citizens were strongly opposed
to these plans, due to the possibility of an accidental oil spill that
might cause significant damage to the environment. According to the
Transneft's president, numerous meetings with citizens near the lake
were held in towns along the route, especially in Irkutsk.
Transneft agreed to alter its plans when Russian president Vladimir
Putin ordered the company to consider an alternative route 40
kilometers (25 mi) to the north to avoid such ecological
Transneft has since decided to move the pipeline away from
Lake Baikal, so that it will not pass through any federal or republic
natural reserves. Work began on the pipeline two days after
President Putin agreed to changing the route away from Lake
Proposed nuclear enrichment plant
In 2006, the Russian government announced plans to build the world's
first international uranium enrichment centre at an existing nuclear
facility in Angarsk, 95 km (59 mi) from the lake's shores.
Critics and environmentalists argue it would be a disaster for the
region and are urging the government to reconsider.
After enrichment, only 10% of the uranium-derived radioactive material
would be exported to international customers, leaving 90% near the
Lake Baikal region for storage.
Uranium tailings contain radioactive
and toxic materials, which if improperly stored, are potentially
dangerous to humans and can contaminate rivers and lakes.
Other pollution sources
The Moscow Times
The Moscow Times and Vice, an increasing number of an
invasive species of algae thrives in the lake from hundreds of tons of
liquid waste, including fuel and excrement, regularly disposed into
the lake by tourist sites, and up to 25,000 tons of liquid waste are
disposed of every year by local ships.
An 1883 British map using the More Baikal (Baikal Sea) designation,
rather than the conventional Ozero Baikal (Lake Baikal)
The first European to reach the lake is said to have been Kurbat
Ivanov in 1643.
In the past, the Baikal was referred to by many Russians as the
"Baikal Sea" (Russian: Море Байкал, More Baikal), rather
than merely "Lake Baikal" (Russian: Озеро Байкал, Ozero
Baikal). This usage is attested already in the Life of Protopope
Avvakum (1621–1682), and on the late-17th-century maps by Semyon
Remezov. It is also attested in the famous song, now passed into
the tradition, that opens with the words Славное море,
священный Байкал (Glorious sea, [the] sacred Bajkal).
To this day, the strait between the western shore of the Lake and the
Olkhon Island is called Maloye More (Малое Море), i.e. "the
Lake Baikal is nicknamed "Older sister of Sister Lakes (Lake
Khövsgöl and Lake Baikal)".
According to 19th-century traveler T. W. Atkinson, locals in the Lake
Baikal Region had the tradition that Christ visited the area:
The people have a tradition in connection with this region which they
implicitly believe. They say "that Christ visited this part of Asia
and ascended this summit, whence he looked down on all the region
around. After blessing the country to the northward, he turned towards
the south, and looking across the Baikal, he waved his hand,
exclaiming 'Beyond this there is nothing.'" Thus they account for the
sterility of Daouria, where it is said "no corn will grow."
Lake Baikal has been celebrated in several Russian folk songs. Two of
these songs are well known in
Russia and its neighboring countries,
such as Japan.
"Glorious Sea, Sacred Baikal" (in Russian: Славное Mope,
Священный Байкал) is about a katorga fugitive. The
lyrics as documented and edited in the 19th century by Dmitriy P.
Davydov (1811–1888). See "Barguzin River" for sample lyrics.
"The Wanderer" (in Russian: Бродяга) is about a convict who had
escaped from jail and was attempting to return home from
Transbaikal. The lyrics were collected and edited in the 20th
century by Ivan Kondratyev.
The latter song was a secondary theme song for the Soviet Union's
second color film, Ballad of
Siberia (1947; in Russian:
Сказание о земле Сибирской).
Russian Far East
Detlev Henschel: Kayak Adventure in Siberia: The first solo
circumnavigation of Lake Baikal. Amazon ISBN 978-3-7375-6102-0.
Colin Thubron In Siberia,
Leonid Borodin: Year Of Miracle And Grief, Quartet Books, 1988.
Superficially about a family's move to a town by
Lake Baikal where the
parents have been contracted to teach, their son's discovery of a
magic cave, and his subsequent involvement in a feud between
supernatural beings living there. The feud was a simile for the
intellectual conflict in late period Soviet Russia, and
Lake Baikal a
metaphor for the incorruptibility of the Russian soul.
^ a b c d e f "A new bathymetric map of Lake Baikal. Morphometric
Data. INTAS Project 99-1669. Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium;
Consolidated Research Group on Marine Geosciences (CRG-MG), University
of Barcelona, Spain; Limnological Institute of the Siberian Division
of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk, Russian Federation; State
Science Research Navigation-Hydrographic Institute of the Ministry of
Defense, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation". Ghent University, Ghent,
Belgium. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
^ M.A. Grachev. "On the present state of the ecological system of lake
Baikal". Lymnological Institute, Siberian Division of the Russian
Academy of Sciences. Archived from the original on 20 August 2011.
Retrieved 9 July 2009.
^ a b "Unique aquarium on Lake Baikal". Sputnik News. 23 June 2004.
Retrieved 10 June 2017.
^ Dervla Murphy (2007) Silverland: A Winter Journey Beyond the Urals,
London, John Murray, p. 173
^ Schwarzenbach, Rene P.; Philip M. Gschwend; and Dieter M. Imboden
(2003). Environmental Organic Chemistry (2 ed.). Wiley Interscience.
p. 1052. ISBN 9780471350538. CS1 maint: Uses authors
^ Tyus, Harold M. (2012).
Ecology and Conservation of Fishes. CRC
Press. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-4398-9759-1. CS1 maint: Uses
authors parameter (link)
^ Bright, Michael, ed. (2010). 1001 natural wonders : you must
see before you die. preface by Koichiro Mastsuura (2009 ed.). London:
Cassell Illustrated. p. 620. ISBN 9781844036745.
^ "Deepest Lake in the World". geology.com. Retrieved 18 August
^ a b Jung, J., Hojnowski, C., Jenkins, H., Ortiz, A., Brinkley, C.,
Cadish, L., Evans, A., Kissinger, P., Ordal, L., Osipova, S., Smith,
A., Vredeveld, B., Hodge, T., Kohler, S., Rodenhouse, N. and Moore, M.
(2004). "Diel vertical migration of zooplankton in
Lake Baikal and its
relationship to body size" (PDF). In Smirnov, A.I.; Izmest'eva, L.R.
Ecosystems and Natural Resources of Mountain Regions. Proceedings of
the first international symposium on Lake Baikal: The current state of
the surface and underground hydrosphere in mountainous areas. "Nauka",
Novosibirsk, Russia. pp. 131–140. Retrieved 9 August
2009. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
^ a b "
Lake Baikal – A Touchstone for Global Change and Rift
Studies". United States Geological Survey. Archived from the original
on 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2016-01-03.
^ a b "
Lake Baikal –
World Heritage Centre". Retrieved 5
^ a b c "Lake Baikal: Protection of a unique ecosystem". ScienceDaily.
26 July 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
Lake Baikal –
World Heritage Site". World Heritage. Retrieved 13
^ M. Hammer; T. Karafet (1995). "DNA & the peopling of Siberia".
Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
^ a b S. Hudgins (2003). The Other Side of Russia: A Slice of Life in
Siberia and the
Russian Far East
Russian Far East (PDF). Texas A&M University
Press. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
^ Fefelov, I.; Tupitsyn, I. (August 2004). "Waders of the Selenga
delta, Lake Baikal, eastern Siberia" (PDF). Wader Study Group
Bulletin. 104: 66–78. Retrieved 9 August 2009.
^ a b "The Oddities of Lake Baikal". Alaska Science Forum. Retrieved 7
^ Kravchinsky, V.A., M.A. Krainov, M.E. Evans, J.A. Peck, J.W. King,
M.I. Kuzmin, H. Sakai, T. Kawai, and D. Williams. Magnetic record of
Lake Baikal sediments: chronological and paleoclimatic implication for
the last 6.7 Ma. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology,
195, 281–298, 2003.
^ Kravchinsky, V.A., M.E. Evans, J.A. Peck, H. Sakai, M.A. Krainov,
J.W. King, M.I. Kuzmin. A 640kyr geomagnetic and paleoclimatic record
Lake Baikal sediments. Geophysical Journal International, 170
(1), 101–116, doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03411.x, 2007.
^ M.I. Kuzmin et al. (1998). First find of gas hydrates in sediments
of Lake Baikal. Doklady Adademii Nauk, 362: 541–543 (in Russian).
^ M. Vanneste; M. De Batist; A. Golmshtok; A. Kremlev; W. Versteeg
(2001). "Multi-frequency seismic study of gas hydrate-bearing
sediments in Lake Baikal, Siberia". Marine Geology. 172 (1): 1–21.
^ P. Van Rensbergen; M. De Batist; J. Klerkx; R. Hus; J. Poort; M.
Vanneste; N. Granin; O. Khlystov; P. Krinitsky (2002). "Sublacustrine
mud volcanoes and methane seeps caused by dissociation of gas hydrates
in Lake Baikal". Geology. 30 (7): 631–634.
^ "Lake Baikal: the great blue eye of Siberia". CNN. Archived from the
original on 11 October 2006. Retrieved 21 October 2006.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k
Freshwater Ecoregions of the World (2008).
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^ Hutter; Yongqi; Chubarenko (2011). Physics of Lakes: Foundation of
the Mathematical and Physical Background. 1. p. 11.
^ "Unique body of water".
Black Sea Scene. Retrieved 5 March
^ a b "Ice Conditions". bww.irk.ru. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
^ "Baikal seal". baikal.ru. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
^ a b c d e f Gurulev, S.A. "Temperature of
Lake Baikal Water".
bww.irk.ru. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
^ a b Pomazkina, G.; L. Kravtsova; and E. Sorokovikova (2012).
"Structure of epiphyton communities on
Lake Baikal submerged
macrophytes". Limnological Review. 12 (1): 19–27.
doi:10.2478/v10194-011-0041-1. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors
^ a b c Rivarola-Duartea; Otto; Jühling; Schreiber; Bedulina; Jakob;
Gurkov; Axenov-Gribanov; Sahyoun; Lucassen; Hackermüller; Hoffmann;
Sartoris; Pörtner; Timofeyev; Luckenbach; and Stadler (2014). A First
Glimpse at the Genome of the Baikalian
verrucosus. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and
Developmental Evolution 322(3): 177–189.
^ C. Michael Hogan. 2009. Marsh Thistle: Cirsium palustre,
GlobalTwitcher.com, ed. N. Strömberg Archived 13 December 2012 at the
^ a b c d e f g Mackay, A.; R. Flower; and L. Granina (2002). "Lake
Baikal". In Shahgedanova, M. The Physical Geography of Northern
Eurasia. Oxford University Press. pp. 403–421.
ISBN 978-0-19-823384-8. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter
^ Peter Saundry. 2010. Baikal seal. Encyclopedia of Earth. Topic ed.
C. Michael Hogan, Ed. in chief C. NCSE, Washington D.C.
^ "Wildlife of Lake Baikal". bww.irk.ru. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
^ Sipko P.T.. 2009. European bison in
Russia – past, present and
future (pdf). the European Bison Conservation Newsletter Vol 2 (2009).
pp.148–159. the Institute of Problems
Ecology and Evolution RAS.
Retrieved on March 31, 2017
^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2014). "Thymallus
baikalensis" in FishBase. April 2014 version.
^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2014). "Thymallus
brevipinnis" in FishBase. April 2014 version.
^ a b FishBase: Species in Lake Baikal. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
^ Tytti Kontula, Sergei V. Kirilchik, Risto Väinölä (2003) Endemic
diversification of the monophyletic cottoid fish species flock in Lake
Baikal explored with mtDNA sequencing Molecular Phylogenetics and
Evolution 27, 1, 143–155.
^ Hunt, D. M., et al. (1997). Molecular evolution of the cottoid fish
Lake Baikal deduced from nuclear DNA evidence. Molecular
Phylogenetics and Evolution 8(3): 415-22.
^ Pastukhov, V.D:
Lake Baikal Seals - NERPA. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2014). "Coregonus
baicalensis" in FishBase. April 2014 version.
^ Baikal.ru: Baikal grayling. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
^ Baikal.ru: Baikal sturgeon. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
^ "Зоопланктон в экосистеме озера
Байкал / О Байкале.ру — Байкал. Научно
и популярно". Baikal.mobi. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
^ a b Sherbakov; Kamaltynov; Ogarkov; and Verheyen (1998). Patterns of
Evolutionary Change in Baikalian Gammarids Inferred from DNA Sequences
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 10(2):
^ BBC News (13 May 1999). Oxygen boosts polar giants. Retrieved 17
^ a b Daneliya, M.E.; Kamaltynov, R.M.; and Väinölä, R. (2011).
Phylogeography and systematics of Acanthogammarus s. str., giant
amphipod crustaceans from Lake Baikal. Zoologica Scripta 40(6):
^ a b c Sitnikova, T.Y. (2006). "
Endemic gastropod distribution in
Baikal". Hydrobiologia. 568 (S1): 207–211.
^ a b Baikal.ru: Gastropoda. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
^ Slugina, Z.V. (2006). "
Endemic Bivalvia in ancient lakes".
Hydrobiologia. 568 (S1): 213–217.
^ Slugina; Starobogatov; and Korniushin (1994). Bivalves (Bivalvia) of
Lake Baikal. Ruthenica 4(2): 111-146.
^ a b c Segers, H.; and Martens, K; editors (2005). The Diversity of
Aquatic Ecosystems. pp. 43-44. Developments in Hydrobiology. Aquatic
Biodiversity. ISBN 1-4020-3745-7
^ a b Baikal.ru: Flatworms (Plathelminthes). Retrieved 7 June 2017.
^ a b c d Kaluzhnaya; Belikov; Schröder; Rothenberger; Zapf;
Kaandorp; Borejko; Müller; and Müller (2005). Dynamics of skeleton
formation in the
Lake Baikal sponge Lubomirskia baicalensis. Part I.
Biological and biochemical studies. Naturwissenschaften 92: 128–133.
^ Paradina; Kulikova; Suturin; and Saibatalova (2003). The
Distribution of Chemical Elements in Sponges of the Family
Lubomirskiidae in Lake Baikal. International Symposium - Speciation in
Ancient Lakes, SIAL III -
Irkutsk 2002. Berliner Paläobiologische
Abhandlungen 4: 151-157.
^ Belikov; Kaluzhnaya; Schröder; Müller; and Müller (2007). Lake
Baikal endemic sponge Lubomirskia baikalensis: structure and
organization of the gene family of silicatein and its role in
morphogenesis. Porifera Research: Biodiversity, Innovation and
Sustainability, pp. 179-188.
^ Kozhov, M. (1963).
Lake Baikal and Its Life. Monographiae
Biologicae. 11. pp. 63–67. ISBN 978-94-015-7388-7.
^ Müller; and Grachev, eds. (2009). Biosilica in Evolution,
Morphogenesis, and Nanobiotechnology: Case Study Lake Baikal, pp.
81-110. Springer Publishing. ISBN 978-3-540-88551-1.
^ Chang, Chun-shu (2007). The Rise of the Chinese Empire: Nation,
State, and Imperialism in Early China, ca. 1600 B.C.-A.D. 8.
University of Michigan Press. p. 264.
^ Lincoln, W. Bruce (2007). The Conquest of a Continent:
the Russians. Cornell University Press. p. 246.
^ "Research of the Baikal". Irkutsk.org. 18 January 2006. Retrieved
^ George V. Lantzeff and Richard A. Price, 'Eastward to Empire',1973
^ Открытие Русскими Средней И
Восточной Сибири (in Russian). Randewy.ru. Retrieved
Irkutsk Hydroelectric Power Station History". Irkutskenergo.
^ "Lake Baikal". Global Great Lakes. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
^ Байкальский исследовательский центр
(Baikal Research Centre; in Russian). www.baikal-research.org
^ a b "Russians in landmark Baikal dive". BBC News. 29 July 2008.
Retrieved 4 April 2010.
^ Gallant, Jeffrey (29 July 2008) "Russian submersible dives in Lake
Baikal do not establish new freshwater depth record". Archived from
the original on 22 September 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-04. CS1
maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) . DivingAlmanac.com
^ PA News (19 July 2008). "Submarines to plumb deepest lake".
^ "Baikal Lake
Neutrino Telescope". Baikalweb. 6 January 2005.
Archived from the original on 31 August 2010. Retrieved 30 July
^ a b Tom Esslemont (7 September 2007). ""Pearl of Siberia" draws
investors". BBC News. Retrieved 4 December 2007.
^ Daniil, Timin. "Driving on frozen
Lake Baikal in the winter".
^ Sobisevich A. V., Snytko V. A. Some aspects of nature protection in
the scientific heritage of academician Innokentiy Gerasimov // Acta
Geographica Silesiana. 2018. Vol. 29, # 1. P. 55–60.
^ Tom Parfitt in Moscow (12 November 2008). "
Russia Water Pollution".
The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
^ "Sacred Land Film Project, Lake Baikal". Sacredland.org. Retrieved 2
^ "Economic crisis saves
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Archived from the original on 18 March 2009. Retrieved 2 January
^ Clifford J. Levy (11 September 2010). "
Russia Uses Microsoft to
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^ Tide of discontent sweeps through Russia's struggling 'rust belt'
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производство". 16 September 2013.
^ "Transneft". Transneft. Archived from the original on 4 October
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September 2014 19:35. The Moscow Times.
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1981, p. 246 ISBN 0904180123
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of Catharine the Second, and to the close of the eighteenth century.
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Байкалове море паки тонул), in the Life of
Protopope Avvakum, Written by Himself (Житие протопопа
Аввакума, им самим написанное)
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Cartography, ed. Imago mundi. 1. Brill Archive. p. 115.
^ T. W. Atkinson (1861). Travels in the Regions of the Upper and Lower
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^ "The Glorious Sea, Sacred Baikal". Karaoke.ru. Retrieved 2 January
^ «По диким степям Забайкалья»,
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Lake Baikal Information
Baikal Club International (magazine about Lake Baikal, maps, photos,
videos and stories)
World Heritage Sites in
Russia by federal district
Church of the Ascension in Kolomenskoye
Moscow Kremlin and Red Square
Trinity Sergius Lavra
White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal
Historic Centre of Yaroslavl
Virgin Komi Forests
Historic Monuments of Novgorod and Surroundings
Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Surroundings
Struve Geodetic Arc2
Volcanoes of Kamchatka
Golden Mountains of Altai
Landscapes of Dauria3
Uvs Nuur Basin3
Assumption Cathedral of Sviyazhsk
Citadel, Ancient City and Fortress Buildings of Derbent
1 Shared with Lithuania
2 Shared with nine other countries
3 Shared with Mongolia