Elgygytgyn lake. Chukchi pininsula

Elgygytgyn lake. Chukchi pininsula Elgygytgyn lake. Chukchi pininsula

The Chukchi Peninsula, at about 66° N 172° W, is the northeastern extremity of Asia.

The Chukchi Peninsula is one of the most mysterious and unexplored areas of our country. Here you will see the land where the new day starts, its unforgettable landscapes, pearly beads of lakes, pristine rivers, one-of-a-kind ethnic traditions and hospitality. A large portion of the inhabitants are Russian; the rest are Chukchi, Yakut, Eveny, Koryak and Inuit. The indigenous people are of two groups, semi-nomadic hunters and coast-dwelling fishermen. The area's coastline lies along the Northern sea shipping route. Industries on the peninsula are mining (tin, lead, zinc, gold and coal), hunting and trapping, reindeer breeding and fishing.

Lake Elgygytgyn is a crater impact lake located in the very heart of the Chukchi Peninsula, 390 km from the capital city, Anadyr, about 150 km southeast of Chaunskaya Bay. It is approximately 12 km in diameter and has a maximum depth of 174 m +/- 2 m. The lake is centered within a crater that formed 3.6 million years ago. The lake was discovered by geologist Sergey Obruchev in 1933.
There are many legends around it. Local people call it the “Lake of Never-Melting Ice” and say that it is as mysterious as a ghost. Sometimes the water suddenly swells as if a giant monster is trying to rise to the surface and then disappears in the depths of the lake again. They call it Kalilgu, a mysterious creature, similar to Scotland’s Nessy. Sometimes strange fantastic lights, halos and mirages emerge above the lake and people who find themselves nearby disappear without leaving a trace. That is why Natives try to keep away from the lake. Scientists make a conservative assumption that undiscovered living fossils may be found in the lake.

Due to the extremely severe climate only three species permanently inhabit the lake's harsh aquatic environment. These are three types of char: Salvelinus boganidae, S. elgyticus (small-mouth char) and Salvethymus svetovidovi (long-finned char). The two latter species are endemic to Elgygytgyn Lake.

The lake freezes by the end of September and stays under 2 m of ice cover till June. The water is supertransparent – you can see the bottom at a depth of 15 m, and cold – the water temperature at the bottom is never higher than +3° C, and at the surface around 0°.

Wildlife is represented in abundance by fox, moose, bear, fox squirrel, mountain sheep, polar fox, etc. No human settlements or roads are located near the lake, so it can be reached only by helicopter.