Lake Baikal Facts

Lake Baikal Facts
Lake Baikal, located in Southern Siberia in Russia, is the world's oldest lake, estimated to be approximately 25 million years old. It is considered to be the world's largest freshwater lake (by volume) and the world's deepest as well at 5,387 feet. It was formed as a rift valley (earth's crust slowly pulls apart) and is crescent shaped. UNESCO designated Lake Baikal a World Heritage Site in 1996, and is a popular tourist destination for visitors that come from all over the world. The biodiversity of Lake Baikal and its surrounding area makes it unique, providing a home for a variety of plant and animal species that are not found elsewhere on earth.
Interesting Lake Baikal Facts:
Lake Baikal contains approximately 20% of the total unfrozen freshwater in the world.
Lake Baikal is often referred to as the 'Galapagos of Russia'.
In 2010 125,000 signatures were obtained to help protect and save Lake Baikal from the pulp and paper mill that was set to reopen. The pulp and paper mill had previously dumped discharge waste containing toxic chemicals. The mill was reopened but closed in 2013 due to bankruptcy.
There are Buryat tribes living on Lake Baikal's eastern side. These tribes raise cattle, sheep, camels and goats.
It is believed that Lake Baikal will eventually become an ocean as the crust continues to split.
Much of Lake Baikal is surrounded by snowcapped mountains. The average temperatures of the region are between -19 degrees Celsius in the winter to 14 degrees Celsius in the summer. This milder microclimate on Lake Baikal's shore is created by the water in the lake.
There are more than 2,500 different animal species known to live in Lake Baikal and its surrounding region, as well as 1,000 plant species. However many put these numbers much higher.
The freshwater seal, which is unique because most seals live in saltwater environments, lives in Lake Baikal.
The majority of the 27 islands located in Lake Baikal are not inhabited.
There are over 300 rivers or streams flowing into Lake Baikal. The basin of Lake Baikal includes part of Russia and Mongolia. The only river flowing out of Lake Baikal is Angara.
On a clear day, because Lake Baikal is so clear, a person can see as far down as 40 meters below the surface.
Lake Baikal is 79 km wide and 636 km in length. The coastline is roughly 2100 kms.
Of all the species found in Lake Baikal more than half cannot be found anywhere else.
There are 18 species of sponge in Lake Baikal, as well as 13 species of leeches, 150 snail species, and over 350 amphipod species.
There are less than 60 species of fish that are native to Lake Baikal with half being native to the lake.
There is a four mile thick sediment layer at the bottom of Lake Baikal which supports a variety of unique and strange life forms.
Some people have reported seeing UFOs at Lake Baikal. Sightings have been reported for decades and continue to be reported.

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