The debate on the lake's origin is still on. Some scientists view that tectonic processes of orogenesis, resulted in the creation of Lake Baikal, while others consider it as a result of the earth's crust gradually subsiding. Both the claims are yet to be proved!
The Kurykans- a Siberian tribe that inhabited the area in the 6th century; the Buryats and the Yakuts are the early inhabitants of Lake Baikal. It was in the 17th century, when Russia expanded into the area that the outer world got to know about this most voluminous freshwater lake. Kurbat Ivanov was the first Russian explorer to reach Lake Baikal. The grandeur of the lake Baikal attracts people all over the world. In 1996, this Siberian miracle of nature was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Some interesting facts about Lake Baikal:
- Lake Baikal, located in south-east Siberia is considered the deepest lake in the world at 1,642 m.
- Lake Baikal, formed over 25-30 million years ago is considered as the oldest lake in the world. Aquatic life has evolved over this long period. Lake Baikal, one of the most bio-diverse lakes in the world, is exceptionally rich in endemic species of fauna and flora.
- With 636 km. length and an average of 48 km width, Lake Baikal covers 31,500 sq. km. Maximum width of the lake is 79.4 km.
- Lake Baikal takes the maximum depth of 1,642 m, in the middle and the average depth is 730 m.
- This deepest lake in the world is situated at an elevation of 445 m above the sea level.
- The Baikal region hosts around 1,200 historical, archaeological and cultural monuments, most of which are treated as sacred.
- The Baikal region is home to a variety of iconic and/or IUCN Red listed animals and plants.
- Lake Baikal usually starts to freeze in January and the ice breaks in the beginning of May.
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