Ice diving an underwater forest
July 15, 2010 4:12 AM   Subscribe

Lake Kaindy is a lake in Kazakhstan that was created after a huge landslide. A portion of the surrounding forest was submerged, and has since become regionally famous for its underwater trees. The coolest pictures, by far, are from the guys who went ice diving in the middle of winter.
posted by shiu mai baby (18 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure that underwater trees are that unusual a phenomenon, at least in the US. I grew up in Alabama, where Alabama Power and the Tennessee Valley Authority have created several lakes/dammed rivers for power generation. One of them near where I grew up was termed a "fishing lake" meaning they left many stands of trees standing as the lake filled with water. It apparently creates a great environment for fish, which is wonderful for fishermen. It isn't so great for boats, especially when, several decades later, the tops of the tress (that used to rise above the water and mark the stands) are now generally about 6 inches to a foot below the surface and completely invisible. Makes for a terrifying boat ride if you don't know where you're going.

That said, I'm fascinated by the frozen lake aspect of these scenes. It creates a very eerie otherworldly feel to the scenes, especially since there are still needles or leaves on some of the trees. The trek out to the lake looks pretty brutal, especially carrying all the diving gear and cameras through the snow. I'm also not sure if I've ever considered purposefully submerging myself in a frozen lake, although it looks like they were prepared for it.
posted by This Guy at 4:25 AM on July 15, 2010

This Guy: I hear you. I grew up in NE Mississippi, so underwater trees weren't all that hard to find. The pictures of this, though, were what really drew me in. I just wish they had taken more, especially after such an arduous journey out there.
posted by shiu mai baby at 4:40 AM on July 15, 2010

Lake Kaindy is very young, geologically speaking, having only been born last century. It was created due to an enormous limestone landslide. Water flooded the resulting basin and the natural rocky embankment that formed in the middle of the lake partitioned it with a natural dam. Not yet decayed, the drowned trees rise out of the cold waters, offering a refuge for tired swimmers.

7 Most Incredible Sunken Forests on Earth
posted by three blind mice at 4:45 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wonderful, and refreshing to look at. A well-timed post given the uncharacteristic heat we've been experiencing here in Central New York. Makes me want to jump in with them, sans wetsuit.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:51 AM on July 15, 2010

Suddenly I feel very very cold.
posted by bwg at 5:05 AM on July 15, 2010

Love the shape of the hole in the ice.
posted by yerfatma at 5:26 AM on July 15, 2010

I liked the horse. It looked very cheerful and patient for an animal dragged out into the snowy countryside so some guys could take pictures of cool underwater trees. As a general rule, horses do not care about underwater trees.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:33 AM on July 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

That's amazing. Can't put it better than Tennyson:

There rolls the deep where grew the tree.
O earth, what changes hast thou seen!

posted by WPW at 5:41 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Those pictures are amazing. I've only ever seen stuff like this before, which pretty much look like logs onna beach to a passerby.
posted by shinybaum at 5:50 AM on July 15, 2010

Don't forget the king of all drowned trees, The Old Man of Crater Lake.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:19 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

shiu mai baby: "I just wish they had taken more, especially after such an arduous journey out there."

Surely they took more than those 6 or so underwater photos. Hiking 5 km in the snow with a couple horses should prompt you to at least fill up the memory card. I'm assuming these are the ones they liked best.

I hope they go back during other times of the year and do it again. I'd love to see it in the spring and summer, just for the contrast without the ice filtering the light.

Anybody know if there are any fish or other waterbound critters in the lake? Would somebody have to populate the lake, or was there an existing body of water that this siphoned water (and presumably fish) from?
posted by This Guy at 7:05 AM on July 15, 2010

There are more pictures of Kaindy lake on the web, though.
posted by General Tonic at 7:30 AM on July 15, 2010

Reminded me of this underwater meadow in Austria.

(Pretty sure I saw it posted to the blue, but can't find the post right now)
posted by Kabanos at 7:39 AM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Man, you could not ever get me to jump into a hole to swim around under the ice. I think I need to go outside to ward off the sympathetic claustrophobia I am currently feeling.

Neat pictures, though.
posted by joelhunt at 8:40 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Beautiful. Congratulations to them on their effort.
posted by mdoar at 8:49 AM on July 15, 2010

Totally cool - no pun intended.

Lake diving in Texas is similar - there are trees underwater in almost all of them, since Texas has no natural lakes*. They are all man made reservoirs. One of the creepiest experiences I had was night diving in Lake Travis, going down about 80 feet where the trees are. Very, very unsettling. The foliage is long gone, and the branches are covered in silt, like bony fingers clawing out of a grave.

*Caddo Lake was a natural lake that was damned (uh, dammed?) in 1914.
posted by Xoebe at 10:46 AM on July 15, 2010

Nice photos, but nothing terribly unique. As several others have mentioned, a lot of areas have flooded lakes.

My own ice dives at the Crosby Mines in Crosby, MN had similar trees, although I didn't take pictures of it, and you can just drive your truck out on the ice.
posted by kaszeta at 1:10 PM on July 15, 2010

To me, they look haunting and corpse-like. I mean it's interesting and pretty and all, but they just kind of made me feel very solemn.

Beautiful, though.
posted by Bindyree at 3:26 PM on July 17, 2010

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