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Baikal Zen – A rare natural phenomenon in Russia

Lake Baikal is located in southern Siberia of Russia – this is the deepest, clearest and most water-rich lake in the world. In winter, the lake Baikal not only froze to form a shining mirror, but also appeared a rare sight called “Baikal Zen”.

“Baikal Zen” is a natural phenomenon when the pebbles lie balanced on very small pillars of ice on the frozen lake. These pebbles are only a few centimeters from the surface of the lake, seemingly wobbly and easily fall, but do not fall.

(Photo: Maria Mosyagina / Shutterstock)

This phenomenon looks artificial but completely natural, only occurs in Lake Baikal in winter under certain conditions. It is not clear whether this phenomenon will occur in other lakes or not.

Scientists have studied this rare phenomenon for many years, but have yet to find an explanation that will agree with everyone.

It is said that “Baikal Zen” happened because the pebbles lying on the frozen lake were subjected to the heat from the sun, causing the ice below to begin to melt.

However, heat is not the only cause of this phenomenon. If for this reason the ice underneath the pebbles would melt evenly without leaving a small pillar of ice to keep the stone balanced.

Occasional gusts of wind at Lake Baikal may also play a very important role in this rare phenomenon, as the wind prevents the pillar of ice from melting. When most of the ice below the boulders melted and formed a concave, the pillar of ice in the center remained to keep the stone balanced.

Why are there pebbles appearing on the lake surface? A Russian photographer who took a picture of “Baikal Zen” at Lake Baikal said that the pebbles were blown by the wind into the frozen lake surface and eventually froze where they fell.


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