Russian Blue Lake is very deep, mysterious and uniquely beautiful.

The Blue Lake is located in Kabardino-Balkaria among the mountains. It is believed that by its depth the lake is the deepest in the world karst spring. And in terms of the volume – the first in the world.

Algae in the Blue Lake in Russia Viktor Lyagushkin

Algae in the Blue Lake in Russia / Viktor Lyagushkin

In size it is very small – 235 by 130 meters. But the minimum depth of the lake is 179 meters! And the maximum depth is a whole of 258 meters! (Other figures are not correct and they are the consequence of either faulty equipment or poor-quality measurement).

Sunset at the Blue Lake in Russia Viktor Lyagushkin

Sunset at the Blue Lake in Russia / Viktor Lyagushkin

Not a single river or stream flows into the lake. The Blue Lake itself is the source and one river flows out of it.

Basically, it is a karst (cave) water source, directed upwards.

A startling fact – both in summer and in winter the lake water has a constant temperature of plus 9.3 degrees Celsius.

The water in the Blue Lake is very clear, and visibility can reach up to 20 to 40 meters in different parts of the lake, as well as at different times, which allowed suggesting the presence of a side cave (it is yet to be researched). It is possible that the cave is at the depth of 120 meters. This is evidenced by the observation of the diver Martin Robson, who felt at that depth level a strong lateral stream and reduced visibility for a few meters.

The color of the water in the lake is blue (from azure to emerald – depending on the lighting), and it is caused by the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the water.

Diver near the wall of a karst cavity Viktor Lyagushkin

Diver near the wall of a karst cavity / Viktor Lyagushkin

“Tserik-Kel” or “Stinky Lake” (due to hydrogen sulfide) is the name of the lake in the local dialect of this Russian Blue Lake.

Night dive Viktor Lyagushkin

Night dive / Viktor Lyagushkin

The lake is a vertical oval shaft, extending deep into the earth.

Diver in the Blue Lake at night Viktor Lyagushkin

Diver in the Blue Lake at night / Viktor Lyagushkin

Judging by the fact that the river flows out of the lake mineralized, and carried out in dissolved form dozens of cubic meters of rock per day, the lake will gradually deepen even more.

On the depth the lake remains quite unexplored. The Center of diving is located near it, but it is still 258 meters deep!

A tree near the surface of the water Viktor Lyagushkin

A tree near the surface of the water / Viktor Lyagushkin

The Blue Lake is only one out of five in the karst lake system. And it is the lowest among them.

Other lakes are located higher. For example, the Secret Lake can be seen, only if you come up to the precipice.

In addition, there is also the Dry Lake, which is a huge cavern that probably used to be filled with water. But the water left by finding a new way, and in its place a huge deep cavity was left. If you manage to go there, you can imagine that the Blue Lake is even deeper than the Dry Lake, so you can appreciate its depth even more…

How to Get to the Russian Blue Lake

50 kilometers from the lake there is the airport of the city of Nalchik (the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria), or the airport of the city Mineralnye vody (the ticket is often much cheaper). Flights depart from Moscow. Then you will have to drive.

Blue Lake Tragedies

Deep-sea diving is always a risk, and not a small one.  Super-deep diving is a particular risk. In 2012, a Russian diver and then an Israeli died. The Israeli who had significant experience in deep sea diving submerged to 120 meters. Solo (even more dangerous). And did not get to the surface at the supposed time. His body was found a week later much deeper, at 210 meters. The diver had no visible damage. The operation to lift the body from such a depth using automatic equipment took more than one day. Examining of the diver’s equipment on the surface showed its full serviceability. Another tragic mystery.

Martin Robson also almost died once when he experienced a severe form of decompression disease after an ultra-deep dive of 209 meters in the Blue Lake. Only the involvement of the Russian side allowed to promptly deliveringby plane of the Russian Emergencies Ministry a pressure chamber. Martin was immediately “lowered” to 97meters and then “lifted” for 9 days under the supervision of the best expert in Russia in decompression sickness.


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This article contains some materials by the Center of diving “Blue Lake”, G. Maksimovich, and interviewof the team

Photo – Viktor Lyagushkin / The team that is engaged in extreme media projects

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