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"Monsters" Emerge Again in Kanas Lake July 13, 2007 .....Page 43

Elusive mystical creatures emerged again in Kanas Lake of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. According to the administration of the Kanas scenic spot, on July 5th at 8:20pm, huge ripples were seen on the surface of the lake by a few tourists carrying their portable video cameras.

The 8-minute video recording captured the entire event. From the video there can been seen a group of unidentified creatures, about 15 in number.

They gather together and separate, looking like a fleet, and create a magnificent scene. The parts of creatures seen above the surface of the water are several times larger than the biggest sightseeing boat in the area.

Statistics showed that Kanas Lake runs 25 kilometers north to south, is about 2.5 kilometers wide, and is 188 meters deep in its deepest area. Legends from thousands of years ago spoke about "monsters" that often stealthily dragged cattle into the water.

The most recent siting in June 2006, recorded by three tourists from Beijing, triggered more discussion and speculation. Experts say the "monsters" are probably unidentified aquatic animals. The reported siting in July is the longest and the first fully recorded one.

By People's Daily Online

Kanas Lake

Kanas is Mongolian for beautiful, abundant and mysterious. The lake is deep in the virgin forests of the Altay Mountains of northern Burqin County in Xinjiang. This 44.78-square-kilometer lake is 1,374 meters above sea level, and has a maximum depth of 180 meters. Its glittering crystal waters reflect the hues of the cloud, sky, rocks, trees and other flora that surround it.

The nature reserve bounding the lake is the only one in China to border three other nations - Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. Lake Kanas is the source of the Burqin River -- the biggest tributary of the Ertix that, alone of all Chinese rivers, flows to the Arctic Ocean. It is also the sole region in China of South Siberian flora and fauna.

Of the many legends emanating from Kanas Lake, the most intriguing is that of its fabled monster. The Tuwa have believed for generations that the lake is the habitat of a behemoth that breathes mists and clouds that act as camouflage for its periodical forays to prey on local livestock.

This legend has been proved an old wives' tale after several sightings by tourists and scientists in recent years of a shoal of huge fish that lined up for dozens of meters long.

Members of a scientific exploration team from the Xinjiang University spotted a school of huge fish in Kanas Lake in the 1980s. Two days later an expedition from the Xinjiang Environmental Science Institute had a similar sighting that they were able to record on film and video.

Biologists conclude that the creature is the Hucho taimen, a ferocious carnivore that lives as long as 200 years, grows to a length of two to three meters, weighs hundreds of kilograms and swims in schools. A six-kilogram taimen once caught was found to have ingested two wild ducks.

Local Tuwas, however, are unconvinced. Their sustained belief in the lake’s fishy monster prevents them from fishing from or allowing their livestock to graze by it.

The second Kanas oddity is its natural log dyke. At the northern mouth of the lake floats a phalanx of dead trees that is 100-odd meters wide and 2,000 meters long. It remains perennially in place, resisting the waters flushing downstream.

What seems uncanny about the dam is that logs that have been taken out, carried and placed in the lower reaches of the lake always drift back to it.

There is, however, a scientific explanation for this phenomenon: logs float from upper rivers into the lake, but are unable to move further down the watercourse because of currents that are caused by gusts of wind diverted to the valley by mountains south of the lake. Over the years, these “captured” logs have stacked up and formed a spectacular natural dam.

The beauty of Kanas Lake is further enhanced by the changes in its color according to the season. During the thaw in May it is a deep grayish blue, which by June, when it reflects summer’s mountain greenery, has turned sky blue.

July is the flooding season, when deluges from the White Lake upriver bleach Lake Kanas milky white. High rainfall in August deepens its color once more to an aqua green, which turns brilliant emerald in the drier months of September and October.

Among the several contributing factors to this phenomenon are the various minerals that are carried downstream from the upper rivers, the changing colors of plant life on the mountains around the lake, and the varying angle of sunshine on the water surface throughout the year.

But scientific explanations are the last thing on your mind if you are lucky enough to stand on the banks of Lake Kanas and gaze at natural beauty unchanged for tens of thousands of years.

Textsource: China Today Contributor: Wang Zu Blog Comments on the Aforementioned

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