The YouTube video Skating Lake Baikal, the world's deepest lake - BBC News shows a very heavily cracked lake. It doesn't just appear to be a fault line. It appears to be an actual crack that started that goes all the way to the surface. I believe it's natural. I have two questions. My first question is

When an ice layer on a frozen lake is cracked the way I described, is it plausible that it happened completely naturally with no human intervention such as having walked on it when it was thin?

My second question is

If the answer to my first question is yes, then what is one plausible cause of it?

If the answer to the first question is yes, I really only need the answer of one plausible cause of ice being cracked in that way without human intervention. However, it would be nice if you could give me as many plausible causes from fundamentally different categories as you can find.


Ice does crack completely naturally without human intervention. There are many reasons it could do so, one is as mentioned before mechanical stress from in- and outflow that lifts/settles the ice cover.

Another one is temperature stress from density changes, because ice changes its density e.g. depending on diurnal temperature changes or simply by cooling as it thickens (or warming as it thaws).

... and more.

Changing density: https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/ice-thermal-properties-d_576.html

  • $\begingroup$ I'm really not sure about whether it can crack from inflow and outflow. Sometimes people make mistakes with original research and false rumours spread. Although you didn't link it, I can verify the other information that it it's a very likely theory that it can crack due to thermal stresses at cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/… which somebody else linked, which is the information I was looking for. That's the reason I put a check mark beside this answer. $\endgroup$ – Timothy Dec 12 '19 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, if you're not content with the answer, you can also wait until more info comes in. Nobody's in a hurry :-) $\endgroup$ – user18411 Dec 13 '19 at 13:49

Your question should have been much more concise, it is too rambling and long-winded. With regard to your paragraph on creating a new branch of diving, it also deviates into the world of sport. The marks I saw in your video looked as though they were made by skaters, but you ask whether there is a natural method that a frozen lake could develop a crack without human intervention, so I will give you one, though it probably doesn't explain the marks on Lake Baikal.

If a large lake gets frozen over, It may have a small stream or other drainage system which very gradually lowers the water level beneath the ice. In summer other streams and rainfall replenish it,so the two things balance each other out and the water level usually remains the same. However, what might happen in the winter is that after the Ice has formed, the seepage gradually creates an air gap under the ice. Deprived of support in the middle of the lake, the ice will begin to sag, and if it sags enough, the ice will crack.

  • $\begingroup$ I just fixed up my question. I didn't think carefully. I thought it wouldn't invalidate your answer and now I see that it does. What should I do? I didn't know at the time I asked it that other people weren't going to willingly and happily devote a lot of time to the long project of gathering information that I described in the details. There probably are some people who would. They're just nearly impossible to fine. Maybe if the world finds the right complex research technique, there will be a nice easy method of locating through complex interaction, people who have a demand to participate in $\endgroup$ – Timothy Dec 11 '19 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ research on a specific thing. $\endgroup$ – Timothy Dec 11 '19 at 19:04

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