50 Fascinating Facts About The Deepest Lake In The World

Aashita Dhingra
Oct 20, 2023 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Jan 10, 2022
Lake Baikal is the world's deepest lake
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.5 Min

Lakes can be found in every part of the world - from basins, mountainous regions, rift zones to melted glacial areas.

These lakes are usually formed by natural phenomena such as volcanic eruptions, ice-damming, glacier movements, sinkholes, and landslides. Depending on their location, the total volume, surface area, and maximum depth of these lakes vary.

Lake Baikal is the world's deepest lake and is situated in Russia. Read this article to know more about Lake Baikal as well as the other deepest lakes in the world.

What is the deepest lake in the world?

Lake Baikal is the world's deepest lake and the largest freshwater lake in the world, accounting for almost 20% of the world's freshwater. The crescent-shaped deep lake is situated in southeastern Siberia, near the Mongolian border.

Lake Baikal is the most ancient lake in geological history, with the age of the lake being estimated at somewhere around 25–30 million years.

Frequently referred to as the 'Sacred Sea', the lake embodies the unblemished beauty of Russia. It's also the center of many local myths and folklore and is found to make regular appearances in Russian folklore.

The loosely defined territory bordering Lake Baikal is referred to as Baikalia, while the district to the east of the lake is known as Transbaikalia. The largest nearby city is Irkutsk.

Regarded as one of the greatest Cossack explorers of Siberia, Kurbat Afanasyevich Ivanov is the first Russian to reach Lake Baikal in 1643.

Lake Baikal is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Russia and is one of the primary revenue earners in the tourism industry. It's estimated that the lake attracts more than 500,000 tourists every year.

Lake Baikal was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It is home to some of the most unique species of animals and plants in the world, and accounts for approximately 1,700-1,800 endemic plant and animal species. Almost half of the species found in the lake are unique to it. 

Interesting Facts About The Deepest Lake In The World

In terms of volume, Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in the world. It has a volume of 5,521 cubic mi (23,013 cubic km) of water. To put things into perspective, the volume of this lake is roughly equivalent to all five of the Great Lakes of North America combined.

Lake Baikal is also the world's deepest lake and has a maximum depth of 5,387 ft (1,642 m). The lowest point of the lake is located more than 4,000 ft (1,219 m) below sea level. The average depth of the lake is 2,442 ft (744 m).

Lake Baikal has a length of 397 mi (640 km) and a maximum width of 49 mi (79.5 km). Its surface area is 12,248 sq mi (31,722 sq km) which makes it the seventh-largest place in the world when it comes to the surface area.

The coastline area of Lake Baikal measures up to 1,300 mi (2,100 km).

Lake Baikal has 27 uninhabited or sparsely populated islands of which Olkhon is the largest. Olkhon has a length of 45 mi (72 km) and contains villages with a rough population of 1,500 people.

While more than 300 rivers and streams flow into the lake, the Angara River is the only outlet of Lake Baikal. The Angara carries out about 15.8 trillion gallons (71.82 trillion l) of water per year into the Yenisei River, which flows into the Arctic Ocean. 

Flowing north from Mongolia, the Selenga River is the largest river flowing into Lake Baikal and accounts for nearly half of Baikal's total volume of water. The Selenga Delta has also an equal amount of importance when it comes to biodiversity, like Baikal.

Lake Baikal is deemed as one of the clearest lakes in the world. In the summer season, the lake consists of water that is courtesy of the fully melted ice from the mountains of Siberia.

During this time, it is possible to see more than 130 ft (39 m) below the surface of the lake. The astonishing clarity is the result of a lack of mineral salts, plankton that eat floating debris, and the purity of the melted ice of the Siberian mountains.

Even though Baikal may be warmer than some parts of Siberia, it gets freezing cold in winter. The average temperature in winter is below freezing temperature at - 6 F (- 21 C).

Even though it is gigantic in size, the lake freezes over in the winter and usually melts in May or June. The ice can be up to 6 ft (2 m) thick. During summer, the average temperature is 52 F (11 C) while the water temperature is around 50 F (10 C) in August.

Lake Baikal is quite polluted, with more than 15,000 tons (15 million kg) of toxic waste flowing into the lake from its largest tributary in the last decade.

As a result, the lake experiences a range of harmful phenomena including the death of endemic species of sponges, the rapid growth of putrid algae, and the disappearance of the omul fish across its area.

The Trans-Siberian Railway was built between 1896 and 1902. The construction of the railway around the southwestern end of the lake needed 33 tunnels and 200 bridges.

Russia passed a law to protect Lake Baikal in 1999. The government has allocated a fund of 26 billion rubles for treatment facilities and clean-up programs which they hope will help to protect the lake for future generations.

Not only will this hopefully improve the quality of the water, but help to keep the various fish and other animals that call the lake home safe.

The primary reason behind Lake Baikal's extreme depth is that it is located in an active continental rift zone. As the rift zone widens at a rate of 1 in (2.5 cm) per year, Lake Baikal is expected to grow both deeper and wider in the coming years.

Angara River is the only outlet of Lake Baikal

What are the top 10 deepest lakes in the world?

There are many lakes around the world that compete for the deepest lake in the world. Here is a list of the top 10 world's deepest lakes arranged in chronological order to their depth -

Lake Baikal, Russia: This is the world's deepest lake with a maximum depth of 5,387 ft (1,642 m).

Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania: This is the world's second deepest lake with a maximum depth of 4,710 ft (1,436 m). It's also the longest freshwater lake in the world.

Caspian Sea, Russia: Caspian Sea is the world's largest lake when it comes to surface area. It has a length of 750 mi (1,200 km) and maximum width of 200 mi (320 km).

Lake Vostok, Antarctica: This is the world's fourth deepest lake with a maximum depth ranging from 1‎,700 ft (510 m) to 3,000 ft (900 m). Lake Vostok is a subglacial lake that is buried more than 2 mi (3.2 km) under ice cover.

O’Higgins –San Martin, Argentina: Situated in between Chile and Argentina, O’Higgins –San Martin lake's depth is 2,743 ft (836 m) at its lowest point.

Lake Malawi, Malawi: Lake Malawi has an average depth of 958 ft (292 m) with the maximum depth of Lake Malawi being 2,316 ft (706 m).

Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan: This is the world’s second-largest alpine lake, and its thermal activity and mild salinity prevent it from freezing even in the harsh winter conditions of Central Asia.

Great Slave Lake, Canada: Great Slave Lake is the second largest lake situated in the northwest territories of Canada and has a maximum depth of 2,014 ft (614 m).

Crater Lake, USA: Crater Lake was formed when Mount Mazama collapsed around 7,500 years ago. Crater Lake has a maximum depth of 1948.8 ft (594 m).

Lake Matano, Indonesia: This lake is located in the southern part of the Sulawesi peninsula and has a maximum depth of 1935.7 ft (590 m).

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

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Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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