More than a lake, Baikal is a concentrate of world records. Mostly unknown, in fact, since it is located in the middle of Siberia on the border with the northern regions of Mongolia.
Yet it is an environmental unicum of the planet which, if it were not so far from any starting point, would deserve to be part of the list of places to visit at least once in a lifetime.
Its naturalistic characteristics alone would justify the effort to get there: Lake Baikal in fact, thanks to the particular chemical conformation of its waters and the microorganisms that inhabit them, can boast the purest water on the planet, given that impurities are made plummet quickly to the bottom and underwater visibility reaches up to forty meters.
Furthermore, due to the isolation to which geography has condemned it, it hosts over 1400 endemic animal species, the most admired of which is undoubtedly the freshwater seal.
And then there is the endless list of records that it can boast: first of all, Baikal constitutes the largest freshwater reserve on the planet, almost 20% of all that available to living species, although it is not the largest lake in the world. world, since its surface is smaller than that of the Caspian Sea, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Victoria, and Tanganyika, while its volume is in second place after the Caspian Sea; however, it is the deepest lake in the world, given that diving could hypothetically reach an altitude of 1642 meters: if one calculates, however, that over the millennia a quantity of sediments equal to 8500 meters has accumulated on the bottom, it turns out that the depression on the terrestrial crust that determined its formation, 30 million years ago (by the way, it is the oldest lake in the world), reaches over 10 thousand meters, practically a second Mariana trench, but on earth.
The complete change of water – another record – takes place approximately every 383 years, given that the lake has over five hundred tributaries but only one emissary, namely the Angara river: however, this does not mean that storms can unleash on its surface capable of even form waves five meters high, just like in the sea. And just like at sea, during the summer its waters heat up to the point of allowing bathing, as the maximum peaks can be around 24 degrees.
The situation in winter is quite different when Siberia becomes hostage to frost and on Baikal, it can even reach 40 degrees below zero. However, touristically speaking, this is an advantage, given that many “extreme” tour operators offer excursions on the lake aboard off-road vehicles: the surface freezes up to one and a half meters deep and can, therefore, bear a load of at least 15 tons.
The spectacle is extraordinary: the lake takes on a shade close to black, but its upper part is mottled with thousands of white fractures, a consequence of the fact that the underlying fault does not stop even during the winter and continues to expand its surface with micro-movements imperceptible equal to two centimeters a year.
What about the strange phenomena of the circles sometimes appearing on its surface?
No doubt about it, a true collection of natural rarities!