There’s a certain corner of the globe where winter reigns supreme. Temperatures regularly dip below zero and landscapes are often blanketed with a thick curtain of snow. One such place is Siberia, a province in northern Russia known for its harsh winters, its bears and its darkness.
In eastern Siberia lies the majestic Lake Baikal, the oldest freshwater lake on Earth. At 20 to 25 million years old, it’s also one of the largest and deepest lakes in the world, holding an impressive 20 percent of the world’s freshwater. But this isn’t your average big lake – at a certain time of year, Lake Baikal looks remarkably like an alien planet.
A stunning natural phenomenon occurs on the lake each year during March. Freezing temperatures, strong winds, frost and sunlight cause the frozen lake to crack, forcing these huge shards of turquoise ice to break out from the surface. Despite the temperatures dropping well below zero (the average winter temperature in Siberia is around –25ºC) the gem-like formations that form on the lake attract tourists from across the globe.
Baring a striking resemblance to Superman‘s Fortress of Solitude, this phenomenon is caused by pressure packed within the body of water. The naturally formed ice blocks, called ice hummocks, are a bluey green in colour, thanks to the crystal clearness of the water.
Now that’s definitely one for the bucket list.
(Lead image: Alexey Trofimov)[related_articles]25725,11192,2821,18395,2613[/related_articles]