What’s at the Bottom of the Deepest Lake in the World?


[♩INTRO] At over 1600 meters deep and some 25 million
years old, Lake Baikal in Russia is the world’s deepest
and oldest lake. And you know what that means: Since time immemorial, we’ve been curious
about what lies at the bottom of it. According to the Buryat, the indigenous people
of Siberia, the lake is home to a giant fishy dragon monster
called Lusud-Khan. Sort of like the Loch Ness Monster of Russia. Others say the water hides sunken train cars
full of a Russian admiral’s gold. And some claim to have seen aliens or mysterious
lights in its depths. Of course, those stories have yet to be proven, but the true story of Lake Baikal might be
almost as strange. The lake is what’s known as a rift valley. It formed as two tectonic structures (the
Siberian platform and the Amurian/North China plate) moved away from each other. And its geography is still evolving today. As many as 2000 mini-earthquakes (or tremors)
occur at the lake every year, and it gets about 2 cm wider annually. The exact details of how and when these processes
started is still debated, but one thing’s for sure: It began a long time ago. Most lakes are only about 20,000 years old,
but Baikal is ancient — at least 25 million years old, if not older. Because of that, scientists have been able
to learn a lot about the past by studying it. For example, by analyzing the types of pollen
found in its sediment, researchers discovered what kinds of plants
lived there over 10,000 years ago. They’ve also found fossil evidence of everything
from sponges to an ancient parrot to small mammals from
the Miocene epoch more than 5 million years ago. So clearly, Lake Baikal used to be the place
to be. But there’s plenty of interesting stuff
there today, too. These days, the lake supports a really bizarre
collection of life. The majority of its species are found nowhere
else on Earth! Part of that diversity is thanks to its hydrothermal
vents. These are places where cold lake water enters
cracks in the Earth’s crust and heats up as it gets close to the magma
deep beneath the surface. Then, the heated water emerges, usually laden
with minerals. Lake Baikal is actually one of the only lakes
in the world that has these structures at its bottom; they’re much more commonly found in oceans. But that helps make it unique. In Baikal, the warmth and minerals surrounding
the vents support a strange array of creatures that manage to live without ever seeing the
light of the sun. Scientists have found giant mats made of bacteria,
as well as sponges, limpets, fish, and small shrimp-like creatures called amphipods
living at the very bottom of the lake. They’re not dragon monsters or anything,
but they are adapted to total darkness and to living under the pressure of thousands
of meters of water. Which is at least almost as cool. The lake’s community is also supported by
the water’s especially high levels of dissolved oxygen, even at those extreme depths. It’s likely circulated, at least in part,
thanks to convection: a process that cycles water from the surface,
down to the bottom of the lake and back up again. This process may be influenced by all kinds
of things, including those vents, wind, water density, and salinity. Even animals that live underwater need oxygen
to survive, so high oxygen levels help keep them flourishing. It may even help some of them grow to unusual
sizes. For example, many of Baikal’s more than
350 amphipod species are much larger than average, potentially thanks to all that oxygen. Lake Baikal is definitely one of the most
diverse places on the planet, but its story isn’t just limited to the
water. Once you break the surface and come up for
air, you’ll also find the nerpa hanging out on
the lake’s shores. These are the only exclusively freshwater
seals in the world, and it’s estimated that about 100,000 of these adorable, gloriously
rotund creatures live at the lake. Although how they got there is a bit of a
mystery, considering Lake Baikal is hundreds of kilometers
from the ocean. Either way, we’re glad they’re around. Unfortunately, though, there’s a chance
they might not always be. Like many places around the world, Lake Baikal
and all the amazing creatures in it are currently being threatened by pollution
and climate change. In the past 70 years, the lake has warmed
by more than 1.2°C. And by 2100, the surface waters are expected
to warm by another 4.5°. Those temperatures, along with pollution,
have likely contributed to massive algal blooms on the surface: huge growths of algae which are toxic to animals
like fish and crustaceans. Earlier ice melts could also spell disaster
for the nerpa, which need plenty of spring ice so they have
a place to mate and give birth to their pups. And if the lake warms too much, it could deplete
the water of oxygen, effectively suffocating amphipods and other
creatures that live in the deeper waters. Lake Baikal is a treasure trove of biodiversity
and natural beauty, but it won’t stay that way forever if we
continue down our current path. The good news is, we still have some time
to give this story a happy ending. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow! If you’d like to learn more about the weird
places on this planet, and there are a lot of them, you can watch
our episode about the lava lake in Antarctica. [♩OUTRO]

100 thoughts on “What’s at the Bottom of the Deepest Lake in the World?”

  1. In 50 years they will make a similar video but the water will have cooled in temperature an they will predict more deadly cooling over the next ten years. I don't know why modern day scientists try and ignore the fact that temperature has always fluctuated much more than it is doing now throughout estates history. Species will adapt, yes some could possibly die out, but even more will flourish.

  2. Stop lieing for the sake of sciance. The most likely cause of algy blooms is the over farming of ots surounding land resaulting in runoff and an increase in the lakes sulfide deposits.

  3. Educational bit ends and propaganda starts at @4:12, reminding you to not breed, eat, or breathe. Thank you for your cooperation.

  4. Yall need to fire her, or at least have her work behind the scenes, cause everytime she pops up i just switch to another sci show video cause she is a bore. And lifeless

  5. Writing random whole sentences out for no reason, makes the videos unnecessarily hard and annoying to watch. Is there a reason why you do that?

  6. Climate change is happening and we can't stop it because it's a natural heating from a glacial post iceage climate

  7. Man I wish I would have got this girl pregnant I would have loved to ejaculate into somebody that smart all I bang is dumb girls SMART Girls can smell my bullshyt coming a mile away

  8. Gee, great. A another wonder story about an amazing place that turns into a eco-guilt trip at the end. We know everything is screwed. We don't always need the sad ending at amazing places.

  9. Just… being honest. Her voice is pretty boring and 9 times out of 10 I end up just leaving the video before it’s over (unless it’s INSANELY interesting) because of her

  10. It's actually refreshing to see a video like this with a host who isn't overly boring or trying too hard to be "fun" please make more videos like this

  11. Climate change huh? Like the great lakes? When this prediction is wrong also will you repay the people for the taxes spent from your false information? Or will you lie and continue and pretend you are a good person doing good things?

  12. Such a joke, what supposedly was a documentary video on lake Baikal turns out to be a prop for climate change which discredits the idiot speaker, nothing she told is new or relevant , 4.5 c gains in 2 years is comedy , hence YouTube no factual information, this video is satire

  13. Bear Lake on the Idaho- Utah border is thought to be the deepest in the world. Nobody has found the bottom yet.

  14. …who needs Nessie…? 😉
    …srsly…
    …deep lakes are very interesting – even without dinos…! 😉

  15. 5.7mil subs..
    Without basic editing…???
    "People are awesome"
    I can't even finish the 5min wiki story.
    Which by the way was the worst coverage of the lake's histor EVER

  16. To save the nerpas all we have to do is: don't fertilize crops, stop driving cars, stop using airplanes and close all our factories. The nerpas live and we die. Screw that. Also, tell the Ruskies and the ChiComs to do any of those things and they'll just laugh.

    How about a show proving the earth is warming and man is the cause, and then show us how your solutions to "global warming" will work before "time runs out". I'm disappointed with Scishow.

  17. Those algal blooms are due to the chinese and russians dumping massive amounts of our sewage into the lake, and the russian government failing to address it.

  18. Yea its probably going to be worse than the projections. Russia and china do not have plans in place from ruining that lake.

  19. It is unfortunate that Humans have had such a negative impact on the Earth. I understand that it is our responsibility to keep these animals safe for as long as possible. However, people should also understand that it is a natural process for animal species to go extinct or evolve into a different more adaptable species, especially when their environment is overcome by an invasive species such as Mankind. What I am saying is, that animals going extinct due to our mere existence is inevitable. We are the most dangerous invasive species in the world, like it or not, and our survival relies heavily on our ability to shape our environment. So it is sad, but in order to stop climate change and extinctions, the Human race will need to make some very undesirable sacrifices.

  20. Trying to prevent climate cycles on earth is like teaching a Democrat that climate cycles have always existed. Pointless & cant be done.

  21. Everything she said is propaganda and a lie except for the species the depths and XY location everything else is absolute brainwashing garbage

  22. The posts on this video are bizarre. It's like every stoned kid who got thrown out of biology class is getting pay back.
    Haha, lake has mud! That's where Yoda's from. Jimmy Hoffa….
    That's why America is 25th in science status. Thanks people!
    15% of Americans think the sun goes around the earth. Nice.

  23. So in millions of years this lake's biodiversity has been completely stagnant and can't handle climate changes. Who knew the world hasn't experienced climate change in at least 25 million years?!

  24. yup mother nature and her climate changes…seems like that happens every few hundred years. and species either adapt or die..

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