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Baikal (Bur. Baigal Dalai) lake of tectonic origin in the southern part of Eastern Siberia, the deepest lake on the planet, the largest natural reservoir of fresh water.
The lake and coastal areas feature a unique variety of flora and fauna, most animal species are endemic. Locals and many in Russia traditionally call Baikal a sea.
Baikal is located in Central Asia on the border of Irkutsk region and Republic of Buryatia in the Russian Federation. The lake is stretched from South-West to North-East for 620 km in the form of a giant Crescent. The width of the reservoir ranges from 24 to 79 km of the Baikal Bottom in 1167 metres below the World ocean level, and the mirror of its waters is at 456 meters above.
Water surface area of lake Baikal — 31 722 km2 (excluding Islands), which is approximately equal to the area of such countries as Belgium or the Netherlands. By area, Baikal ranks seventh among the largest lakes in the world.
The length of the coastline — 2100 km.
The lake is situated in a hollow, surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges and hills. While the West coast — rocky and steep terrain of the East coast — more sloping (in some places the mountains recede from the shore for tens of kilometers).
The basic properties of the Baikal water can be briefly characterized as follows: there are very few dissolved and suspended mineral substances, negligible organic impurities, a lot of oxygen. The content of mineral salts in the water of lake Baikal is equal to 96.7 mg/l.
To a large extent the purity of the water in the lake is supported by the activities of microscopic crustacean epishura, which consumes organic matter, the water flowing through your body. Baikal epishura (lat. Epischura baicalensis) is a species of planktonic crustaceans from the subclass Copepoda (Copepoda). Adult size translucent crustacean is about 1.5 mm. This endemic of lake Baikal plays an important role in the lake ecosystem, inhabiting the entire water column and forming up to 90 % or more of the biomass of the pond. The epishura consumes the bulk of the algae is an important food object of the Baikal omul. It crustacean-epishura the duty of the lake to its clean water.
The water in Baikal is cold — the temperature of the surface layers even in summer does not exceed +8...+9 °C, and in some bays and SORS — +15 °C (maximum recorded temperature is +23 °C). The temperature of deep layers is about +4 °C..
The lake water is so transparent that individual stones and various objects are visible at a depth up to 40 meters. It usually happens in the spring when the lake water is blue. In summer and autumn, when the sun warmed the water develops a lot of plant and animal organisms, its transparency is reduced to 8-10 m, and the color becomes blue-green and green.
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