Very often locals call Lake Baikal the Baikal Sea. Indeed, on the lake, as on the real sea there are frequent storms and sea storm waves, which are not characteristic for lakes.
Speaking about the Baikal Sea, all of its characteristics have to be described using superlatives: the deepest lake on the planet, the largest volume of fresh water on the planet, the cleanest fresh water on the planet, the oldest lake in the world…
The Baikal Sea – Is an Emerging Ocean
Today, scientists insist that the Baikal Sea is a new, emerging world ocean.
Fact 1.The age of the Baikal Sea is about 30 million years.
Indeed, this fact speaks for itself. Typical freshwater lakes, even large ones, sooner or later end up silting. The rivers that flow into these lakes bring nutrients or even soil. Only several hundred or several thousand years from now freshwater lakes, all that you know, will disappear.
Fact 2. Unique plant and animal species.
In the Baikal Sea region there were found more than 1,500 species of animals and more than 1,000 species of plants. Most species are not found anywhere else. With its abundance of flora and fauna the Baikal Sea resembles an ocean. And discoveries of new plant and animal species still occur every year.
Fact 3. Baikal is the edge of the Siberian lithospheric platform.
Huge lithospheric platforms drift over the surface of the earth, forming continents. A simple analogy – fallen leaves in a bucket of water. If you stir the water in the bucket, they will come closer and then disperse again. The lithospheric platforms act similar, but they move so slowly that one movement can last for millions of years, that is, people don’t notice this.
So, the Siberian platform together with other platforms forms a huge Eurasian continent.
But now the Siberian platform moves away from the center of the continent. That means that the Baikal Sea is gradually expanding its shores – and it is really happening! The cities of Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude, located on opposite sides of the Baikal Sea, are moving away from each other by 3 millimeters a year. Too little? On the scale of hundreds of millions of years, it means hundreds and thousands of miles, even if the rate of formation of the ocean remains the same.
Fact 4. Baikal basin is the place of many earthquakes.
In the area of the deepest freshwater lake several thousand earthquakes a year are recorded. An earthquake is a sign of geologic activity, movement of lithospheric plates.
Fact 5. Currents and waves.
If we examine the surface or deep currents, sort of underwater rivers, as well as the waves and the storms – they correspond to the ocean type.
Fact 6. Gas hydrates.
Gas hydrate is a fuel of the future. Gas hydrates are found only on the ocean floor. Recently, a discovery was made in Lake Baikal – gas hydrates were found.
Will the Baikal Sea become a new world ocean? Today, we can only speculate about that. This hypothesis can only be tested in millions of years.
The Baikal Sea today is an endless mystery.
To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev