Imaggeo on Mondays: The largest fresh water lake in world

Lake shore in Siberia. Credit: Jean-Daniel Paris (distributed via

Lake shore in Siberia. Credit: Jean-Daniel Paris (distributed via

Most lakes in the Northern hemisphere are formed through the erosive power of glaciers during the last Ice Age; but not all. Lake Baikal is pretty unique. For starters, it is the deepest fresh water lake in the world. This means it is the largest by volume too, holding a whopping 23,615.39 cubic kilometres of water. Its surface area isn’t quite so impressive, as it ranks as the 7th largest in the world. However, it makes up for that by also being the world’s oldest lake, with its formation dating back 25 million years – a time during which mammals such as horses, deer, elephants, cats and dogs began to dominate life on Earth.

Located in a remote area in Siberia, perhaps, most impressive of all is how Lake Baikal came to be. It is one of the few lakes formed through rifting. The lake is in fact, one of only two continental rifted valleys on our planet. Typically, “continental rift zones are long, narrow tectonic depressions in the Earth’s surface”, writes Hans Thybo, lead author of a paper on the subject. The Baikal rift zone developed in the last 35 million years, as the Amurian and Eurasian Plate pull away from one another. Eventually, the stretching of the Earth’s surface, at continental rifted margins, can lead to continental lithosphere splitting and the formation of new oceanic lithosphere. Alternatively, as is the case in Siberia, extensive sedimentary basins can be formed; bound by faults, they are known as grabens. It is by this process that Lake Baikal was formed and now houses around 20% of the world’s fresh water!

But this is not where the amazing facts about today’s Imaggeo on Monday’s picture end. The lake is the origin of the Angara River, along which you’ll find the manmade Bratsk Dam, the world’s second largest dam! The shoreline pictured in this photo by Jean- Daniel Paris, is from this impressive dam. Completed in 1964, this artificial reservoir is home to almost 170 billion cubic meters of water (equivalent to the volume held by 68 million Olympic sized swimming pools!).

However, it’s not the impressive water bodies in this inaccessible location in Siberia that are of interest to Jean-Daniel. In fact, this photograph was taken from a research aircraft, which flew over the region for an investigation that spanned a period of several years. Its aim was to measure how concentrations of CO2 and CO varied across the region. Acquiring this data would allow the team of scientist to better understand the sources of the gases, in this remote area of Russian, due to anthropogenic activities and biomass burning.


Thybo, H., Nielsen, C.A.: Magma-compensated crustal thinning in continental rift zones, Nature, 457, 873-876, doi: 10.1038/nature07688, 2009

Imaggeo is the EGU’s online open access geosciences image repository. All geoscientists (and others) can submit their photographs and videos to this repository and, since it is open access, these images can be used for free by scientists for their presentations or publications, by educators and the general public, and some images can even be used freely for commercial purposes. Photographers also retain full rights of use, as Imaggeo images are licensed and distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons licence. Submit your photos at

EGU 2015 General Assembly programme is now online!

EGU 2015 General Assembly programme is now online!

The EGU General Assembly 2015 programme is available here. Take a look and – if you haven’t already – register for the conference by 12 March to make the early registration rates!

The scientific programme of this year’s General Assembly includes Union SymposiaInterdivision SessionsEducational and Outreach Symposia, as well as oral, poster and PICO sessions covering the full spectrum of the Earth, planetary and space sciences. The Keynote and Medal LecturesGreat Debates in the GeosciencesShort CoursesTownhall Meetings, and Splinter Meetings complete the overall programme.

There are several ways to access the programme, so you can explore the sessions with ease:

  • Browse by day & time: view the oral, poster and PICO sessions by their time and location, each sorted chronologically by conference day, time block and programme group
  • Browse by session: view the scientific sessions and their oral, poster and PICO sub-sessions by programme group
  • Personal programme: a great tool to generate your own personal programme, just select the specific presentations or sessions you’re interested in to create your own personal schedule
  • Papers of special interest: take a look at the abstracts that were selected by their respective session conveners to be of interest to the press & media

Want more ways to browse the programme? We’ll be releasing the EGU 2015 mobile app closer to the conference, stay tuned!

We look forward to seeing you in Vienna for the General Assembly (12 – 17 April 2015).

EGU 2015 Communicate Your Science Video Competition – Deadline Extended!

Earlier this year we launched the Communicate Your Science Video Competition, a great opportunity to share research in the Earth, planetary and space sciences with the general public. What’s more, there’s a free registration to the 2016 General Assembly up for grabs!

What’s it about? Young scientists pre-registered for the EGU General Assembly are invited to take part in the EGU’s Communicate Your Science Video Competition.
The aim: to produce a video up-to-three-minutes long to share your research with the general public.
The prize: a free registration to the General Assembly in 2016.

Your video can include scenes of you out in the field and explaining an outcrop, or at the lab bench showing how to work out water chemistry; entries can also cartoons, animations (including stop motion), or music videos – you name it! As long as you’re explaining concepts in the Earth, planetary and space sciences in a language suitable for a general audience, you can be as creative as you like.

Need some inspiration? Why not take a look at last year’s finalists:

How to enter

Feeling inspired? We’ve extended the deadline for submissions to 12 March. To take part, send your video to Laura Roberts (, together with proof of online pre-registration to EGU 2015. Check the EGU website for more information about the competition and pre-register for the conference on the EGU 2015 website.

Last chance to enter the EGU Photo Contest!

From top left to bottom right, Erosion Spider by John Clemens, Icebergs at Night in the Antarctic by Eva Nowatzki, Star Trails in Rocky Mountain National Park by Martin Snow, MicROCKScopica – Symplectite in Granulite by Bernardo Cesare (distributed via

Some finalists from the 2014 Photo Competition. From top left to bottom right: Erosion Spider by John Clemens, Icebergs at Night in the Antarctic by Eva Nowatzki, Star Trails in Rocky Mountain National Park by Martin Snow, MicROCKScopica – Symplectite in Granulite by Bernardo Cesare (distributed via

If you are pre-registered for the 2015 General Assembly (Vienna, 12 -17 April), you can take part in our annual photo competition! Winners receive a free registration to next year’s General Assembly! But hurry, there are only a few days left to enter!

Every year we hold a photo competition and exhibit in association with our open access image repository, Imaggeo and our annual General Assembly. There is also a moving image competition, which features a short clip of continuous geoscience footage. Pre-registered conference participants can take part by submitting up to three original photos and/or one moving image on any broad theme related to the Earth, planetary and space sciences.

How to enter

You will need to register on Imaggeo to upload your image, which will also be included in the database. When you’ve uploaded it, you’ll have the option to edit the image details – here you can enter it into the EGU Photo Contest – just check the checkbox! The deadline for submissions is 1 March.



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