Interesting facts

How did Baikal get its name?

There are different opinions about this question, here are some of them: the word of Baikal in its modern pronunciation perhaps originated in Mongolian Baigal-Dalai that means Big lake. Buryats took this name calling the lake Baigal-Noor (lake Baigal). Russians pioneers in turn took the name of Baigal and simplified pronunciation by replacing “g” letter by “k” letter. There is a theory that the name of Baikal originates in Turkic Bai-Kul’ – the Rich lake. Also, the name of Baikal is consonant with Chinese Bei-Hai – the Northern sea. But both these theories don’t seem to be real.

Origination of lake Baikal

Baikal hollow appeared after the powerful explosion caused by tectonic activity that literally tore earth’s crust and formed a giant hollow. Of course, original shape of the lake was completely different. After many years or may be thousands of years the edges of rupture widen and the crack got deeper. Later the hollow was filled with water and cooled off. One of the reasons that probably caused the break of the earth’s crust and occurrence of Baikal rift zone was impact of ascending current of melted mantle substance caused by intense heating. This kind of current, probably, caused raising and rupture of the crust and led to occurrence of the largest rift on the continent, the length of which is 1500 km, that spreads from Khubsugul lake in Mongolia to the northern tip of lake Baikal and further to the north.

Volcanos of Baikal

Currently there are no active volcanos in Baikal region. But there is a chance that they may emerge because seismicity level is still high – the presence of hot springs and earthquakes that often occur here prove this theory. Humanity also made its contribution to changing unique ecosystem of the lake by constructing a dam and a water reservoir. Despite on all this we can argue with some confidence that the chance of emerge of new volcanos in Baikal region is extremely small, but is still exists. Regarding to the question of extinct volcanos, we can mention, for example, the volcano that is located in Tunka valley. Its “ebullient” activity had stopped relatively not long time ago – just 10000 years ago. The evidences of more ancient volcanos - mountains, volcanic bombs and tuffs - have been found on the shores of Baikal and on the Ushkan islands. Several peaks of Cape are of volcanic origin. It is also possible that on the bottom of the lake there may be extinct volcanos.

Tributaries of Baikal

The classic quantity of tributaries if Baikal is 336, but this figure has lost its relevance long time ago. Destroying of ecosystem, deforestation, barbarous acts of human against Baikal reduced quantity of tributaries to 150-200. Many of them have become seasonal water arteries (i.e. they are active only in the snowmelt and rainy periods). There is no precise information about quantity of tributaries of Baikal yet. Taking in account quantity of temporary tributaries that are active on snowmelt and rainy periods, total quantity of Baikal tributaries may reach 400.