Mysterious Rings Appeared Again on Lake Baikal Ice

11.04.2016

When analyzing the images obtained using the Terra and Aqua satellites, scientists have discovered ring structures on the ice of Lake Baikal. The last time such a phenomenon has been observed in 2014. Presumably, this natural phenomenon is associated with the occurrence of under-ice shedding.

Mysterious Rings Appeared Again on Lake Baikal Ice

Strange rings on the frozen Lake Baikal were first observed from space in late 1990. Since then, they have appeared repeatedly, but not every year. At this time, the ring has an asymmetrical shape and is located at the Cape Nizhnee Izgolovye (the southern tip of the peninsula Svyatoi Nos). Exploring images from different years, scientists have concluded that the cause of the formation of these structures is not methane emissions from sediments of the tectonic depression of the lake, as it had been previously thought, but anticyclonic vortices under the ice in the center of which the water is warm. In turn, the vortices arise from the peculiarities of water circulation, underwater topography and coastlines. As a result the ice above the vortex gets thinner and becomes saturated with water, which leads to the formation of rings.