A mystery about the existence of the world’s largest freshwater lake has puzzled scientists for decades,media BGR reported. Lake Baikal, located in russia’s cold Siberian climate, freezes every winter. But the ice formation on the lake is not perfect, and it is inexplicable to see strange rings and holes in the ice.
As LiveScience reports, researchers once blamed methane bubbles rising from the bottom of the lake, but a new study seems to have revealed the real cause of the phenomenon. As it turns out, warm water under the ice is the real culprit.
To better understand what’s happening under the ice, the researchers went to the lake several times over the years and placed sensors in the nearby water where the ice ring appeared. However, collecting the data is not as simple as it sounds, and the thin ice around the ice ring actually prevents scientists from moving several times.
The life span of the resulting ice rings and holes can vary dramatically. They are not easy to predict, tend to appear randomly, and then some freeze quickly within a few days, while others can last for months.
After collecting data several times, the researchers were able to paint a clearer picture of what was happening under the ice. Warm water flowing beneath the lake distorts and vortexes, and when these warmer-than usual vortexes produce a circular flow, the ice melts in a similar way. The temperature difference between warm water is small, only 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the surrounding water, but this is enough to melt the ice and form a tiny temporary “Iceland” in the lake.
To keep lake visitors safe during the cold months, the researchers recorded and tracked the location of various ice rings.