he Putorana Plateau. A traveler’s dream. The nature preserve . A land ‘where man has not set foot.’ If you look out the window of your helicopter, you’ll see a rock massif the size of Great Britain emerging from the flat swampy tundra. Those who come to the Putorana Plateau for the first time are astonished by its exceptional flatness: How was it formed?
Episode 1: Lava from an ancient volcano
The plateau was once a volcano. 250 million years ago, the Central Siberian Plateau broke apart, releasing powerful lava flows onto the surface. Overlapping and solidifying, the lava flows formed a multi-layered basalt ‘pie.’ Millions of years later, it was split by deep canyons resembling Norwegian fjords. Glaciers appeared, along with rivers full of rapids and clear freshwater lakes. The Evenkis, a northern indigenous people, call the plateau ‘a lake with steep banks.’