I found these amazing panoramas at the www.planetspics.ru and definitely wanted to share. The web-site is on Russian language, so I translated captions for pics. Enjoy!
I’ve been recently asked if strong winds ever whip up giant waves on Lake Baikal and where on the lake would large waves be most likely to form.
As in any lake, waves in Lake Baikal arise from the effects of wind on water, on the difference of atmospheric pressure on different parts of the valley, from earthquakes, from the tides, from undersea volcanic eruptions, from the vessels motion and other external forces.
Waves on Lake Baikal may reach a height of 4 meters. Sometimes they evaluated as 5 and even 6 meters, but it is most likely an estimation “by eye”, which has a large error. Height of 4 meters obtained by instrumental measurements on the high seas. The waves are usually strong in autumn and spring, and even in winter before lake freezes. In the summer on Lake Baikal strong waves and storms are rare.
There are winds that blow along the valley, and also transverse winds, that associated with the atmospheric general circulation – transit and local. There are several strongest winds at Lake Baikal:
Almost every wind may cause strong waves, but the most severe is Mountain wind. It’s associated with largest disasters at Lake Baikal and is very dangerous for navigation, especially in the middle of the lake. In 2009 during the storm a ship was thrown to the coast, none of the four crew members were injured.
A young couple from Irkutsk decided to celebrate their wedding day … under water. The newlyweds wore a diving suits, special equipment and plunged into the lake near the village of Listvyanka to a depth of 10-12 meters, where they stayed for twenty minutes. Underwater newlyweds even opened a bottle of champagne. The groom was an initiator of such a non-traditional wedding. He is a professional diver. The bride was very supportive to his idea. He said that she was very happy because she had some diving experience at Lake Baikal. They made a video, and here are some shots from this video.
After the wedding the bride decided to enroll in diving more seriously.
Oh, forgot to tell you – it happened on December 20th, the temperature outside was -15C.
What do you think about this idea, dear Readers? Would you do the same?
Even in June the Nerpa are found basking on ice floes. The water temperature by mid-June is normally only 4 degrees Centigrade (amazingly, millions of years ago Baikal was a warm swallow lake with tropical plants growing on its shores).
The bottom of the lake is composed of an extraordinarily thick layer ?? sediment. In some places the depth from surface to bedrock is more than 7 kilometres, or 7 times as deep as the Grand Canyon.
I’ve been asked if there are any undiscovered islands at Lake Baikal. Baikal is quite well-studied and according to open sources there are no undiscovered islands there at the moment. However, everything is changing)
To make my answer more complete, I decided to describe some islands of the Lake. There are different opinions on how many islands actually are at the Lake.
Wiki says that there are 27 islands at Lake Baikal.
The largest one is Olkhon Island, its length 71 km, width – up to 12 km, area – 730 square km. There is the deepest point – 1637 meters – not far from the outer side of island.
There are also Uskanyei Islands, a small archipelago of rocky shores in the middle of Lake Baikal near the Holy Nose Peninsula (Republic of Buryatia). There are 4 islands in the archipelago – Big Ushkaniy (the area of ??9.4 km²), the maximum height above the lake – about 210 meters, and Thin, Round and Long islands. They are covered with larch forest. There are Baikal Seal rookeries on the banks. Human impact is minimal, because these islands are part of the Trans-Baikal National Park. One needs permission to land for visiting Ushkaniye Islands.
Yarki Island is located at the north of Lake Baikal, its length is 20 km, and width from 10 to 200 meters. The island is rapidly destroying because of its sandy structure and the constant rise of water level in Lake Baikal.
The writer and Baikal researcher Vitaliy Bryanskiy in his book “Hello, Baikal!” (1989) says there are 35 islands at Lake Baikal. He suggests that Lake Baikal has also such islets as separate large stones, boulders, pebbles or clusters. Some of them have vegetation and nests with gulls’ eggs.
Currently, most of the islands of Lake Baikal are enlisted as natural monuments or included to the two national parks.
These are photographs of the last year’s winter trekking expedition “Siberian Express for Water” done by Impossible2Possible (i2P) along Russia’s Lake Baikal from its very south to its very north. 650 km on the ice! Incredible achievement!
Here’s what the Siberian Express for Water expedition participants say:
Apart from photographs, Ray Zahab sent me answers to our questions. Further, please, find the interview with him. Additionally, the documentary about the expedition is attached.
At 34,000 square kilometers, Baikal is larger than Belgium. Crescent-shaped, 636 kilometers (400 miles) north-to-south, 81 kilometers across, it has 2000 kilometers of shoreline. It is more or less the same size as Lake Superior.
Baikal contains 23,000 cubic kilometers of pure, delicious, oxygen-saturated, life-giving water, more than all five Great Lakes combined. This is one-fifth of all fresh water liquid reserves on earth. It takes 400 years for all the water in Baikal to drain out through its outlet, the Angara river.
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