What Hides at the Bottom of the Deepest Lake in the World?

Andrei Tapalaga

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Island separating the Lakehead on Lake BaikalUnsplash/Sergey Pesterev

Things that reach the highest or lowest peaks across the world are always of great interest. There is always an intriguing narrative behind the tallest skyscraper or the deepest hole. Lake Baikal, though, is a little unique. The fact that it is the oldest and deepest lake in the world would be enough to draw tourists, but what makes it even more intriguing is that the lake is usually frozen completely. The lake has seldom thawed, and even when it did, the temperatures were still too low for anybody to plunge down to the bottom to locate the bottom.

The lake is thought to be 25 million years old and 1,637 meters deep. Approximately 23,000 cubic kilometers (5,670 cubic miles) of water, or about 5% of the world's freshwater reserve, may be found in this lake. The lake's 1000 distinct species of fish and 245 species of water plants, both of which are exclusive to the environment, are among its best-kept secrets. However, scientists still believe that there may be other fish species and maybe entirely new organisms below the ocean's bottom.

A small study team first ventured to the lake's bottom in two tiny submarines in 2008, but they were only able to investigate a small portion of the enormous lake. The pressure is so intense at such a depth that oxygen depletes very fast.

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Lake Baikal, inside the frozen craterUnsplash/Sergey Pesterev

The intriguing thing is that the ice that has been shielding these marine organisms for millions of years has held the secret to their evolutionary development. Various theories exist on how this deep lake came to be. Some speculate that it may have developed as a result of a large meteorite striking the globe 25 million years ago, however, it is a crazy idea given that a meteorite of that size would have the capability of destroying the whole planet.

However, a more probable explanation for the development of this lake is that it was formed over millions of years as a result of a tremendous tectonic plate movement that caused a mountain to split in half.

Due to the lake's reputation, there are several stories, some of which are ancient. According to legend, if a boat dares to travel on a melted lake, because of the depth, enormous waves can be formed out of nowhere, sinking any ship. During Genghis Khan's rule, this mythology was developed.

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Lake Baikal at nightUnsplash/Sergey Pesterev

The lake island where a 300-meter-long, ancient rock structure was discovered separating the Lakehead is an intriguing riddle. Given that there are ancient burial sites beneath this structure, it is thought to have been constructed in the fifth century by a native cult.

This strange rock feature may have been a defense wall, according to another theory. Whatever the reason, the ice has covered the rock formation's bottom, causing it to become a part of the lake. Despite the fact that it is extremely difficult to get there owing to the terrible roads, this rock formation has become a tourist hotspot. The shamans in the area opposed the local government's plans to build a road all the way to the lake's head since doing so would mean burying their ancestors' graves.

Another intriguing incident occurred in 1982 when several local fishermen notified the authorities after spotting dazzling lights emanating from the lake's depths. The troops arrived to conduct an investigation, plunging into the frozen lake to determine the source of the light.

It is stated that the soldiers came across some humanoid entities creating this light at a depth of 50 meters. While the other soldiers raced to the surface, three of the men were slain. Because it is thought that the villagers made up this tale and because there is no supporting documentation, it should be treated with caution.

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