Lake Baikal basin is getting deeper and wider
Friday, May 17, 2002
Based on Press Release by the InformNauka Science News Agency
According to Dr. Boris Agafonov at the Institute of the Earth's Crust in Siberia, the Lake Baikal basin is widening every year by approximately 5 mm due to enlargement of the rift upon which the lake sits. This is equal to a 20-million cubic meter increase in the lake's volume each year. Scientists believe that the Lake Baikal basin is actually a rift trough, similar to the formations found at the bottom of all oceans. Over geological time, most rift troughs on earth broke up into huge oceans covering three quarters of the Earth.
In addition, Lake Baikal is deepening, due to the subsidence of the original lake bed. Subsidence occurs irregularly when there are powerful earthquakes, such as in 1959, when the Baikal basin instantly increased by 200 million cubic meters.
It appears that since 1862, the volume of Lake Baikal has increased by 1.5 times the entire volume of Lake Balaton, one of the largest European lakes due to both of the processes described (rift trough expansion and subsidence). It is believed that the additional volume of Lake Baikal was filled by river-water, rain-water and ground water.
For the full Science News Agency press release click here. (May 17, 2002)