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Our planet is full of extremes as far as the geological features are concerned. On one hand, we have Mount Everest―the tallest mountain in the world towering at 8848 meters, and on the other, we have the Mariana Trench―the deepest part of the ocean with a depth of 11,033 meters.

Of the various extreme facets of the planet, there is one in particular which is relatively less popular, the deepest lake; the distinction of which goes to Lake Baikal in Russia. Interestingly, this lake also has numerous other feathers in its cap. For starters, it is the clearest and oldest in the world.

Lake Baikal - The Deepest Lake in the World

Also known as the 'Pearl of Siberia', Lake Baikal is located between Irkutsk Oblast and Buryatia in the Siberian region of Russia. In terms of coordinates, the lake can be located at 53.5°N longitude and 108.2°E latitude. Other than Russia, the basin of Lake Baikal also extends into the neighboring country of Mongolia. The continental rift lake has a maximum length of 395 miles, width of 49 miles, surface area of 12,248 sq miles, and an overall catchment area of 216,000 sq miles. Its shoreline extends for a distance of 1,300 miles. Even though its average depth is 2,442 feet, the deepest point of this lake is 5,387 feet deep, owing to which Lake Baikal is considered the world's deepest lake. In terms of coordinates, the deepest point can be traced to 53°14′59″N longitude and 108°05′11″E latitude.

Studies of sediments at the bottom of this lake has revealed that it was formed around 25 million years ago, which makes it the oldest lake in the world. Other than being the oldest and deepest, it is also famous for the copious amount of water it stores. In terms of volume, it is ranked 2nd after the Caspian Sea―the largest lake in the world, located between Iran and Russia. The Caspian Sea though, is a saltwater lake, which makes Lake Baikal the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world. This lake holds approximately 20 percent of the total freshwater on the surface of the planet. Owing to the freezing conditions in this region, the lake gets frozen between January and May. Approximately, 1,700 species of plants and animals are found in this lake; more than 70 percent of which are endemic to this region.

Other Lakes with Great Depths

Other than Lake Baikal and Tanganyika, there are six lakes in the world which have their deepest point exceeding 2,000 feet.
  • Caspian Sea between Iran and Russia (3,363 ft.)
  • Vostok in Antarctica (2950 ft.)
  • O'Higgins-San Martin in Chile and Argentina (2,742 ft.)
  • Nyasa in Africa (2,316 ft.)
  • Issyk Kul in Central Asia (2,192 ft.)
  • Great Slave lake in Canada (2,015 ft.)
Though these lakes have a significant depth, they are easily overshadowed by Lake Baikal, not just in terms of depth, but various other aspects as well.

Over the period, Lake Baikal has become one of the most visited tourist destinations in Russia, which, in turn, has resulted in economic boom in this region. In fact, the Russian government has declared this region a special economic zone, which has prompted many investors to invest in its flourishing tourism sector. Several other plans are in the pipeline, all of which are meant to make this lake one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire world.