Tuesday, 23 February 2021

The Lake,

is the deepest and oldest lake on Earth,

photographs © Elena Vtorushina, it is also the largest freshwater lake by volume. But these are only the most well-known facts about Lake Baikal. There are other more mysterious things going on there, some of which give the place a mystical, almost magical aura. Take the phenomenon known as Baikal Zen, for example – large, Zen-like pebbles balancing precariously on a thin ice pillar, above the frozen surface of the lake. Scientists have been studying this rare phenomenon for years, and we still don’t have a unanimously accepted explanation for it, as it happens we have featured Lake Baikal before on the blog,

photographs capturing the Baikal Zen phenomenon started circulating online about four years ago, so what is Baikal Zen exactly? Well, it can simply be described as flat, Zen-like stones perched on thin slivers of ice, a few centimetres above the frozen surface of the lake. It’s a stunning sight, to be sure, and one that scientists all over the world have been scratching their heads about for some time, 

but how do these Zen stones wind up on the surface of the lake to begin with? Well, according to Russian photographer Elena Vtorushina, who took some pics of Baikal Zen formations in 2018, they are blown on to the ice by the strong winds and wind up freezing in place,

the lake was actually the subject of a presentation by Team Ukraine at the 2018 International Physics Tournament, so if you have 40 minutes to spare, and are curious to hear a scientific explanation of the phenomenon, you can watch the presentation above, Lake Baikal, what a fabulous winter wonderland.

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