Carbon 14: The Baikal Excursions

The Baikal Excursions

Radiocarbon dating usually provides Settled Science with reassuringly robust results.

However, there are exceptions to every rule and Settled Science finds the deep waters of Lake Baikal [in southern Siberia] particularly unsettling.

At 636 km (395 mi) long and 79 km (49 mi) wide, Lake Baikal has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in Asia, at 31,722 km2 (12,248 sq mi), and is the deepest lake in the world at 1,642 m (5,387 ft).

There is an element of Cosmic Karma associated with this discomfiture because local legend suggests Lake Baikal is not the regulation 25 million years old claimed by Settled Science.

According to a local legend a huge stone fell from the sky.

While it was falling it became red and hot.

When it hit the earth, the earth shook.

A hole appeared through which a fire blazing was seen.

The people began to chant ‘Bai, gal!’ which means ‘Fire, stop!’ in the Buryat language.

Earth, stone, and water became to boil and in that mess and noise Lake Baikal was born.

Enlightenment – Spotlight Series – Lake Baikal

It is considered among the world’s clearest lakes and is considered the world’s oldest lake – at 25 million years.

This is clearly a touchy subject for the mainstream because the USGS restricts itself to an illustration showing volcanic activity in the region around Lake Baikal [sometime] during the last 66 million years.

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal – A Touchstone for Global Change and Rift Studies
USGS Fact Sheet

Cenozoic Era 66 – 0 million years ago

Early in the Cenozoic, following the K-Pg event, the planet was dominated by relatively small fauna, including small mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

Wikipedia keeps to the party line regarding no volcanism but concedes there are hot springs.

Hot springs are present both on land and under Lake Baikal, although thus far, no evidence of actual volcanism has been found in the immediate vicinity of the lake.

However, geologically-recent volcanic activity has occurred nearby and is probably associated with the Baikal Rift Zone.

Published papers usually refer to modest methane seeps and modest mud volcanoes in Lake Baikal.

Bolshoy is the largest of the four vents.
It appears as an irregular cone 24 m high and 800 m in diameter.

The heat-flow anomalies are most likely caused by hydrothermal activity along active fault segments in a way similar to that at hydrothermal vent sites in the Baikal North Basin.

Methane seeps and mud volcanoes in Lake Baikal are interpreted to be examples of vigorous gas and fluid expulsion caused by tectonically controlled gas-hydrate dissociation by an upward flow of fluids advecting heat to the BHSZ.

Sublacustrine mud volcanoes and methane seeps caused by dissociation of gas hydrates in Lake Baikal
P. Van Rensbergen, M. De Batist, J. Klerkx, R. Hus, J. Poort, M. Vanneste, N. Granin, O. Khlystov and P. Krinitsky
Geology; July 2002; v. 30; no. 7; p. 631–634;

Lake Baikal is actually more active and more interesting than the mainstream cares to acknowledge.

Again, in January 1862 a violent shock of earthquake affected the whole region south of Lake Baikal, and in particular the delta of the river Selenga which flows into the lake.

In the town of Kudara the wooden lids of the fountains were shot into the air like corks from champagne bottles, and springs of tepid water rose in places to a height of more than twenty feet.

So terrified were the Mongols that they caused the Lamas to perform ceremonies to appease the evil spirits which, as they imagined, were shaking the earth.

Folk-Lore in the Old Testament; Studies in Comparative Religion, Legend and Law
Sir James George Frazer – 1918

The powerful earthquake preceding the formation of Bay Proval began on December 30, 1861 with a wavelike movement of the earth, which was felt in many places: Barguzin, Verkhneudinsk, Verkholensk, Selenginsk, Kyakhta, and partly in Irkutsk, Balagansk, and Nizhneudinsk.

As specialists consider today it was more than 10-point earthquake.

Its peak fell on the afternoon of January, 31 and lasted for about 40 seconds.

The tragedy herald was subterranean thunder resembling the noise of boiling water in a big pot.

The earthquake was so powerful that in many villages at different distances from the epicenter church bells rang by themselves; wooden houses were swaying, heavily cracking and creaking; water from some springs and wells spilled out a long distance.

Devastating earthquake and Bay Proval on Baikal

Mud volcano one kilometer height was found in the delta of the Selenga river.

It was found by researchers from the Irkutsk State University expedition.

The fact that at the bottom of Lake Baikal there are mud volcanoes, only became known in 2001. – Mud Volcano Found at Lake Baikal Bottom – 11.03.2015

On Lake Baikal about a hundred gas (“mud”) volcanoes were found.

The mountains around Lake Baikal are in constant motion: they go up or down.

The biggest speed of movement, +2.7 centimeters per year belongs to the North-Muya ridge.

Lake Baikal experiences around 2000 earthquakes per year.

In 1959, an earthquake of 9.5 points lowered the bottom of Lake Baikal by 20 meters. – 37 Impressive Lake Baikal Facts

The mainstream preference for low profile hydrothermal activity in [and around] Lake Baikal might [just possibly] be because they prefer to promote a pure and pristine global warming scenario for the shivering inhabitants of Siberia.

Increases in average water temperature (1.21 °C since 1946), chlorophyll a (300% since 1979), and an influential group of zooplankton grazers (335% increase in cladocerans since 1946) may have important implications for nutrient cycling and food web

Modern climate shifts in Russia – both figurative and literal – underscore the importance of increasing the international awareness of and access to these data from Lake Baikal, as Russia contemplates its scientific and environmental future and as Siberia warms

Lake Baikal Surface Temperatures

Sixty years of environmental change in the world’s largest freshwater lake – Lake Baikal
S E Hampton, L R Izmest’eva, M V Moore, S L Katz, B Dennis and E A Silow
Global Change Biology (2008) 14, 1947–1958

It is also home to Buryat tribes who reside on the eastern side of Lake Baikal, rearing goats, camels, cattle, and sheep, where the mean temperature varies from a winter minimum of −19 °C (−2 °F) to a summer maximum of 14 °C (57 °F).

Baikal seal

Wikipedia states that it’s “something of a mystery how Baikal seals came to live there in the first place” and suggests they “may have swum up rivers and streams” from the Arctic Oceans which is around 2,000 miles distant by the scenic river route.

Given the unlikelihood of this assertion Wikipedia also raises the possibility that the sea level rose by 455 metres so that Lake Baikal could be “linked to the ocean at some point through a large body of water”.

However, this is also an extremely unlikelihood assertion because even if “all the ice on land has melted and drained into the sea” then the sea level would only rise by about 66 metres.


This minimalist mainstream reaction to geothermal activity is very strange considering the lake bottom is 1,186.5 metres below sea level and there are sediments 11 kilometres deep in Lake Baikal [which nestles in the deepest continental rift on Earth].

The bottom of the lake is 1,186.5 m (3,893 ft) below sea level, but below this lies some 7 km (4.3 mi) of sediment, placing the rift floor some 8–11 km (5.0–6.8 mi) below the surface: the deepest continental rift on Earth.

Multichannel seismic reflection line across central part of Lake Baikal

Multichannel seismic reflection line across central part of Lake Baikal showing seismic data
(top) and interpretation (bottom). The thickest deposits are confined to a narrow trough that is 15 to 20 kilometers (9 to 12 miles) wide.

Lake Baikal – A Touchstone for Global Change and Rift Studies
USGS Fact Sheet

And it is in these lake sediments that things get even stranger.

In 2009 T. Watanabe et al. published their radiocarbon dating results for two sediment cores extracted from Lake Baikal.

The Academician Ridge sediment core is remarkable because it includes a 5,111 year excursion beginning around 12,869 years BP.

Academician Ridge

The Buguldeika Saddle sediment core is remarkable because it includes a triple peaked 7,314 year excursion beginning around 10,335 years BP.

Buguldeika Saddle

Unsurprisingly, the Buguldeika Saddle δ13C values oscillate significantly during the excursion.

Buguldeika Saddle Delta 13C

High-time resolution AMS 14 C data sets for Lake Baikal and Lake Hovsgol sediment cores: Changes in radiocarbon age and sedimentation rates during the transition from the last glacial to the Holocene
Takahiro Watanabe, Toshio Nakamura, Fumiko Watanabe Nara, Takeshi Kakegawa,
Kazuho Horiuchi, Ryoko Senda, Takefumi Oda, Mitsugu Nishimura, Genki Inoue Matsumoto, Takayoshi Kawai
Quaternary International 205 – 2009

Which leaves the casual observer pondering how they can reconcile these radiocarbon dating profiles and whether the carbon content of hydrothermal water could possibly be intrinsically different to precipitated water.

Baikal Core Comparison

Any suggestions?

Gallery | This entry was posted in Atmospheric Science, Catastrophism, Earth, Fossil Fuels, Geology, History, Inflating Earth, Radiocarbon Dating, Water. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Carbon 14: The Baikal Excursions

  1. rishrac says:

    I thought for awhile about this. Any comment I make could range between brilliant and down right stupid. The water in the lake probably came from one of the last ice ages, the water could be a result of chemical process in the earth, or a water laden meteorite landed in the right spot. On the seals, speculation is that some land animals went back into the water. During a period of time when it was warmer, shallow lakes might have been abundant and the species spread out. As time went by, they became concentrated in a few places. I’d point to crocodiles in Africa that still exist in isolated waters with nothing but desert between them

  2. “In Lake Baikal live flatworms and sponges were radiocarbon dated near to a thermal vent degassing old carbon. Ages were 6860 to 10,200 years. (M. Grachev, et al., “Extant Fauna of Ancient Carbon,” Nature, Vol. 374, (1995), p. 123.)

    Based on this I would put the “anomalous’ data referred above to the last “catastrophe” or the Heinsohn Horizon. Would be nice to see how they logged the gravity cores as well, in terms of sedimentolog and chemistry.

    • I would even be prepared to bring it closer to the LIA period.

    • malagabay says:

      Thank you Louis!

      Interestingly Nature doesn’t provide an abstract

      But Science Frontiers is more forthcoming.

      Ancient Modern Life And Carbon Dating

      Pursuant to the possible effect of the earth’s recent envelopment by a molecular cloud on the accuracy of carbon dating (SF#98), we now look at the potential distortion caused by the ingestion of primordial carbon (carbon-13) by plants and animals.

      Primordial carbon may come from limestone or natural gas welling up from the earth’s interior.

      Modern life forms that metabolize primordial rather than atmospheric carbon dioxide, with its cosmic-ray produced carbon-14, will appear extremely old when carbon-dated.

      For example, M. Grachev et al carbon-dated flatworms and a sponge collected from a bacterial mat near a thermal vent 420-meters deep in Lake Baikal. The apparent ages of these living organisms ranged from 6860 to 10,200 years.

      (Grachev, M., et al; “Extant Fauna of Ancient Carbon,” Nature, 374:123, 1995)

      Even animals eating these apparently ancient life forms may take up their carbon-13 and, in effect, be drained of carbon-14.

      They would appear to age rapidly.

      Such false aging has actually been induced in the laboratory with mice fed on brewer’s yeast grown in natural gas.

      These mice, living in cages at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, were carbon-dated as being 13,000 years old, and were expected to attain a ripe old age of 35,000 in a few months. (All this was part of a cancer-research project.)

      Of course, most carbon-dating in archeology is not endangered by the primordial-carbon problem.

      But, as K. Turteltaub, “father” of the Lazarus mice, commented:

      “We’ve joked about sprinkling them [the mice] around archeological sites just to confuse everyone.”

      (Weisman, Jonathan; “Of Lazarus Mice and Carbon-14,” Tri-Valley Herald, July 12, 1993. Cr. R. Berg)

  3. Pingback: The Carbon Nitrogen Relation and Radiometric Dating | Louis Hissink's Crazy World

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