Lake Labynkyr – Sakha Republic, Russia - Atlas Obscura

Lake Labynkyr

Sakha Republic, Russia

This remote lake in Siberia supposedly contains a fearsome sea monster. 


Anything can happen in a fantasy monster match-up, but it’s probably safe to say that whatever lives under this deep, frigid Siberian lake could make mincemeat out of Nessie.

Rumors around the Devil of Labynkyr have swirled since the 19th century, as an explanation for mysterious disappearances of people and livestock in the region. These whispers kicked into high gear following the testimony of Soviet scientist Victor Tverdokhlebova, who was certain he saw something on his 1953 expedition through Siberia. The creature he described was a watery behemoth, gray, with a large mouth and wide-set eyes. In 2012, sonar scans by Lyudmila Emeliyanova picked up a moving mass of around seven meters long, decidedly not a fish, decidedly not a log, but also decidedly hidden from view. The leading theory — at least among those convinced that there could be a massive creature in the lake — was that the monster was some kind of prehistoric marine reptile, like an ichthyosaur or plesiosaur. The other theory? Big fish, maybe a pike.

In an attempt to get to the bottom of all of this, a group of scientists literally did go to the bottom (of the lake). Labynkyr is a deep one, around 53 meters on average. A 2013 joint expedition by the Russian Geographic Society and the Diving Sport Federation of Russia set a new ice diving record at 59.6 meters, taking samples along the way. Reporting on the expedition, the Voice of Russia indicated that the team also discovered a large jawbone and skeleton nestled in the lakebed, but no physical or photographic evidence of such a discovery has been shared.

Whether it be a jumbo fish, a weird amphibian, a leftover dinosaur, or a collective delusion, hopefully, the truth will be revealed one day.

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