Giant snowballs appear on Russian beach in Siberia

An 11-mile (18km) stretch of coast was covered in the icy spheres.

The sculptural shapes range from the size of a tennis ball to almost 1m (3ft) across.

They result from a rare environmental process where small pieces of ice form, are rolled by wind and water, and end up as giant snowballs.

Locals in the village of Nyda, which lies on the Yamal Peninsula just above the Arctic Circle, say they have never seen anything to compare to them.

Russian TV quoted an explanation from Sergei Lisenkov, press secretary of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute:

VIDEO: Siberia firefighters battle Lake Baikal fires

There was "no threat" to residential areas and the situation was "under control", according to the head of the Irkutsk regional department of Russia's Ministry of Emergency Situations.

On the western shore of Baikal, in the Irkutsk region, the number of fires had reduced and was affecting an area of 107,000 hectares (413 miles), according to official reports.