27 December 2011, 18:02

Divers to explore Lake Goluboe

Divers to explore Lake Goluboe

Russian and foreign divers are planning to explore Lake Goluboe, the deepest lake in the Caucasus. They will take first dive early next year in search for underwater caves and artifacts.

Russian and foreign divers are planning to explore Lake Goluboe, the deepest lake in the Caucasus. They will take first dive early next year in search for underwater caves and artifacts. Experts believe that there could be many artifacts owing to the fact that the lake is located at the crossroads of history, and that its extraordinary nature has preserved them.

The lake is described as a sapphire in a ring of green trees. It is light blue, and the colour remains unchanged even in bad weather. According to a myth, the lake’s floor is covered by lasurite. The reason for this is that its water contains hydrogen sulphide, says the director of the “Goluboe Ozero” research centre, Igor Galaida.

“The temperature of the lake’s water is constant throughout the year. It’s 9 degrees Celsius, and the water does not freeze. The lake emits hydrogen sulphide gas time and again, especially from spring to autumn. During this period, water has a peculiar odor and taste. The presence of hydrogen sulphide gives the lake its extraordinary blue colour, and this is the reason why the lake is called “Goluboe”, or “Blue” in Russian. However, in Blakar language, it’s named “Odoriferous”, Igor Galaida says.

The lake is 258 meters deep. It is the third deepest karst lake in the world. Significantly, the lake is practically a huge spring well, and about 8 cubic meters of water per minute flows from the lake into a river. Water tests have shown that the lake’s water carrying between 30 and 50 cubic meters of dissolved gypsum plaster a day into the river, says Igor Galaida.

“The presence of a large amount of dissolved substances is a sign that when water passes through earth substance, in this case gypsum plaster, it forms cavities by dissolving it. This means that there should be a long cave beneath the lake’s floor,” Igor Galaida says.

It is very likely that this could be one of the largest underwater caves in the world. So, it’s tempting to find it. An Englishman, Martin Robson is planning to dive for the first time in the Lake Goluboe during an international expedition in January. Deepwater diving robots and 3D scanners will help him find an entrance to the cave. A special team from Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry and two-time free diving world champion Natalya Avseenko will also be involved in the project. In fact, on the 13th of December, she set a record in deep water diving by reaching the depth of 16 meters in cold water without a diving suit.  

There are only two similar lakes apart from “Goluboe” lake in the world. They are Saskatoon in Mexico and Vaucluse in France. But they have already been thoroughly researched. The lake in the Caucasus still remains a mystery and a “white spot”, Igor Galaida says.

“We hope that the results of the expedition will attract the attention of the international community, scientists and researchers who will provide the necessary equipment and carry out research at the lake which will help solve the lake’s problems,” Igor Galaida said.

The divers are hoping to find a lot of artifacts in the lake, which is located near a caravan route. Legends say that trucks loaded with bottles of wine and military hardware left from the Second World War are lying on the bed of the lake. The expedition is also aimed at attracting tourists to the region. In 1914, soldiers who had been poisoned by hazardous gases on the battlefields of the First World War were brought here to improve their health by just breathing in the clean mountainous air. During Soviet times, the region around the lake was turned into a major tourist centre in the North Caucasus. Several hundreds of people used to arrive there daily to enjoy its wonderful scenery and climate. “There is no better place on Earth than Lake “Goluboe”. I realized this ten years ago and believe that all the others will be of the same opinion when they see the lake,” Igor Galaida said.

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