Sunday, March 25, 2007

Where is a Blue Eye of Siberia?

Lake Baikal, which is also known as Blue Eye of Siberia, lies in Southern Siberia in Russia. It is the 2nd largest lake on the earth by volume. It contains over one fifth of the world's liquid fresh surface water and more than 90% of Russia's liquid fresh surface water. Olkhon, by far the largest island in Lake Baikal, is the second largest lake-bound island in the world.

Lake Baikal is the deepest and oldest lake in the world. Its max depth is 1741, but in some places it's even deeper. Lake Baikal is not only the deepest, but also the biggest one between all freshwater lakes of the world. Its area is 30 500 km 2 and the volume of water mass is 23 000 km 3 .

The lake is the huge water reserve of freshwater, inexhaustible resource of water-power. Scientists have found out that there's oil and gas in the Lake Baikal. Oil was noticed in some cracks of ancient crystalline rocks. However the source of these mineral resources is a big riddle for scientists.

The nature of the Lake Baikal is picturesque and gorgeous.The lake is surrounded by forests and big mountains. More than that it's opened for tourists that come to the Lake Baikal to relax and get stronger, during all seasons. From ancient times water of the lake Baikal has been considered as curative and healthy.

Lake Baikal is rich with wildlife and flora. There are more that 2600 kinds of animals and plants. Forests are full with different species of fur bearing animals (minks, squirrels, red foxes, muskrats and others).

The ecology of the lake is under a risk. The greatest threat of pollution is Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill (BPPM). It was constructed in 1966 directly on the shore line. The BPPM bleaches its paper with chlorine and discharges the waste into Baikal. Despite numerous protests, the BPPM is still in production. Environmental activists are now in a struggle to make the pollution less harmful rather than end BPPM's production, since a plant shutdown would be problematic due to local socioeconomic issues. Also harmful chemical substances that are used in agriculture get into the lake and pollute its value and damage its inhabitants.

Lake Baikal on the map

See also:

About the Lake Baikal, its ecology, wildlife.

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