MOSCOW – Russian explorers claimed a record Wednesday in diving to the bottom of a remote lake at the coldest time of the year, but said they could not find its most famed inhabitant, a mythical Loch Ness-style monster.
The team dived to the bottom of the remote Labynkyr lake in the Yakutia region of Siberia in the middle of winter, with the outside temperature minus 45 degrees Celsius.
The lake is in the region of the Oimyakon village in Yakutia, which is the coldest inhabited place on Earth. Temperatures there have been known to plunge below minus 70 C.
Although other lakes in the region freeze during the winter, Labynkyr maintains a nearly constant surface temperature of 2 degrees Celsius. The source of the heating is unknown.
“A world record has been established. For the first time in history, a human being has carried out a dive in the toughest place on Earth at the coldest time of the year,” Yakutia authorities said in a statement.
They said the team had gathered unique material about climatic systems in the permafrost region.
The remote lake is shrouded in mystery largely because of reports from a Soviet-era expedition that claimed to have seen a mysterious animal that some believed to be a relic of the dinosaur era.
The episode gave rise to the lake’s nickname as the “Russian Loch Ness” after the Scottish loch, which is also home to a mythical and so far unconfirmed beast that has been compared to dinosaurs such as the plesiosaur.
The team “did not meet a monster at the bottom of the lake,” the Russian Geographical Society said, adding that it is trying to register the achievement in the Guinness Book of Records.