Friday, April 2, 2010
Russia - Lake Baikal (1)
Sent by Svetlana from Russia. This postcard shows a Shamanka Rock, the symbol of Lake Baikal,
Lake Baikal in south-east Siberia, the deepest lake in the world at 1,700 m, contains 20% of all fresh running water on the planet, making it the single largest reservoir. The lake contains an outstanding variety of endemic flora and fauna, of exceptional value to evolutionary science. It is also surrounded by a system of protected areas that have high scenic and other natural values. The basin supports a variety of plant and animal species, a number being endemic; the most notable of which is the Baikal seal, a uniquely freshwater species. The great variety of plants in the basin is determined by its climatic asymmetry: the western part is occupied by light coniferous forests and mountain steppes; in the eastern part pine forests predominate; and the north is covered by deciduous forests. The formation of the geological structures in the basin took place during the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras and there are a number of significant geological features. Various tectonic forces are still ongoing, as evidenced in recent thermal vents in the depths of the lake.