Baikal World - history of Baikal lake and Baikal region
Origin & Development
Legends & Fairy tales • 
Earth's Crust Thickness • 
Underwater Relief • 
Landscapes • 
History & Formation • 
Seismic Activity • 
History of Lake Baikal
History of Explorations • 
Inhabitants & Settlers • 
First maps of Baikal • 
Archaeological Sites • 
Lake Baikal Climate
Introduction • 
Fogs • 
Winds & Waves • 
Ice Conditions • 
Fauna & Vegetation
Mammals • 
Baikal seal - Nerpa • 
Ichthyofauna • 
Invertebrates • 
Vegetation • 
Water of Lake Baikal
Colour • 
Transparency • 
Temperature • 
Pressure • 
Depth • 
Currents • 
Budget • 
Chemical Composition • 
Pollution • 
Recreational Areas
Circumbaikal Railway • 
Peschanaya Bays • 
Olkhon Island • 
Chivirkuysky Gulf • 
Wooden Irkutsk • 
Trans-Siberian Railway • 
People of Lake Baikal
People of Siberia • 
Buryat nation in Baikal • 
Russians in Baikal • 
Explanation of the local terms and geographical names at lake Baikal
History of Lake Baikal Explorations

history of baikal explorations Lots of people had been living near Baikal since ancient times when more than three centuries ago, the first Russian explorers drew near the lake. The first Russian expedition to Lake Baikal took place in 1643, and the honour of the discoverer of the Eastern Siberian "pearl" belongs to a Cossack, Kurbat Ivanov. The 2nd expedition (1647) was led by Vasily Kolesnikov. They reached the north coast of Baikal and built there a fortress, Verkhneangarsky ostrog. The
data on Baikal brought back by Ivanov and Kolesnikov greatly enriched the geographic knowledge of that time.

Baikal was also visited by prominent travellers and by tramps, by dignitaries-ambassadors, and by deprived outcasts, such as the "frantic" priest Avvakum, the author of the book "The Life of Avvakum the Archpriest". Of course, his book has a lot of inaccuracies and exaggerations, but it is valuable because it is the first literary description of the Baikal's natural wonders.

There were a number of detailed and reliable geographic data on Baikal in the papers of Russian envoys starting out for China. To prove the reliability of the facts about Baikal's nature and population, the Petersburg Academy sponsored and sent to Siberia several expeditions. Thus, the first scientific expedition to Siberia was carried out as the private errand of Peter I in 1723-24. It was headed by Messerschmidt D. G. and brought back some new materials about Baikal.

From 1732 till 1743 the 2nd Kamchatskaya Expedition was working in Siberia. Led by V. I. Bering, this expedition gathered and published many interesting, formerly unknown facts about the lake. In 1772, academicians from St. Petersburg, P. S. Pallas and I. G. Georgi attempted for the first time to account for the origins of Baikal.

Poles I. D. Dubovsky, A. L. Chekanovsky and I. D. Chersky, V. A. Godlevsky exiled to Siberia for having participated in a rebellion in 1863, also contributed greatly to the exploration of Baikal.

At the end of the XIX century in connection with the construction of the Trans-Siberian RW, geological and geographical explorations took on a more systematic character. At that time academician V. A. Obruchev, a famous Russian geologist and geographer, began his scientific investigation.

In the 1920-s the Academy of Sciences organized an all round exploration of the lake.

In 1976 the first colour picture of Baikal was taken from space.

Having been explored for three centuries, Baikal still keeps many mysteries. The unique surroundings of the lake require from explorers persistence and time. Lots of the lake phenomena have not been described yet. They are completely hidden from science, and scientists endeavour to penetrate deeper into the mysterious world of the lake. But in the future, the amazing nature of Baikal is sure to reveal to the scientists new, as yet unknown phenomena.

Explorers of Lake Baikal:
I. G. Gmelin
S. P. Krasheninnikov
P. S. Pallas
P. A. Kropotkin
I. D. Chersky
V. A. Godlevsky
B. I. Dybovsky
A. L. Chekanovsky
L. S. Berg
V. A. Obruchev
G. Y. Vereshyagin
M. M. Kozhov

Explorations continue ...
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