The National Emergency Commission of the Khuvsgul Province has made it illegal to drive on the ice of Lake Khuvsgul and local rivers after a strong earthquake hit the region. The thick ice of the lake, which normally can bear the weight of cars and trucks, cracked during last week’s earthquake.
The 6.5 magnitude quake took place on 12 January in the Khankh Soum (rural district) of Khuvsgul Province which borders with Russia. The earthquake was felt in several provinces such as Bulgan, Selenge, Tuv, Zavkhan and registered a 3-4 magnitude in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, which is located 610 km away.
Therefore, the ‘Blue Pearl’, annual ice festival is likely to be cancelled again. Last year, the festival was banned due to the coronavirus restrictions.
Each March, the residents of the area around the lake celebrate the ice festival. It also draws in many tourists from Mongolia and abroad. The festival involves a great variety of activities and competitions, including Ice Sumo, ger building with ice, ice skating and sleigh rides, all on or by the shores of beautiful Lake Khuvsgul. This two-day event is also a shamanist ceremony of offering and provides a fascinating insight into the way of life of the reindeer herding Tsaatan people.