All About Lake Baikal - the Deepest Lake in the World
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All About Lake Baikal – the Deepest Lake in the World

Your search for the answer to what is the deepest lake in the world will end here. Lake Baikal is one of the oldest lakes present on the Earth; its existence is about 25 million years old.

Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and is 1700 meters in depth. This lake is so deep that it contains almost 20% of the world’s total unfrozen freshwater on the surface of Earth. Therefore, Baikal also holds the title of being the largest freshwater lake in the world.

Now that you know what the deepest lake in the world is, follow through to find more. Let’s get to know some common facts and more in-depth knowledge of this lake.

Where is the deepest lake in the world located?

Are you wondering where the deepest lake in the world is located? Do you know how deep it is? Read on to know.

It is Lake Baikal, located in the south of Russia. So, where is the deepest lake in the world exactly? This lake is near southern Siberia, around the city of Irkutsk.

Even though it’s present in the south of Siberia, the surrounding land of Lake Baikal usually stays warmer. This is because the larger water bodies have a moderate force on the temperature.

Baikal Lake contains about 5521 cubic miles of freshwater. Due to its large freshwater reservation capacity, UNESCO has placed this lake on its world heritage list. Its water capacity also strengthens the Soviet water-power engineering source for generating hydroelectric power.

All About Lake Baikal - the Deepest Lake in the World

How deep is the deepest lake in the world?

Do you know how deep the deepest lake in the world is? In the middle of Asia, Lake Baikal’s bottom is approximately 3,893 feet below sea level. That is for about 1,187 meters. In addition to that, Lake Baikal gets the title of the deepest lake in the world, with a depth of 5,387 feet at the deepest point. Now that you know where the deepest lake in the world is learn about its numeric.

The surface area of Lake Baikal is 31,722 square km, i.e., 12,248 square miles. In terms of surface area, Baikal Lake holds the seventh rank in the largest lake in the world.

Furthermore, this lake’s length is about 397 miles, i.e., 640 Km. Its width measures maximum, minimum, and average width, i.e., 49 miles, 16 miles, and 29 miles. Its Coastline area covers around 1300 miles.

This lake’s depth is prominent because it’s present in an active continental rift zone. This rift zone keeps getting wide at a consistent rate for about 1 inch deeper every year. Thus, the depth of Baikal Lake keeps on growing. It’s predicted that Lake Baikal can get more wide and deep in the near future.

Do you know how old Baikal lake is?

Baikal Lake is one of the oldest lakes existing on the Earth, estimating over 25 million years.

According to studies, the lake itself and its surrounding geological structure are forged with Earth’s crust fracturing and moving.

It is postulated that Baikal Lake was originally a normal water body, just like a river. However, due to tremors and the increasing size of the Earth’s crust, the spaces between shores gradually widened.

At various periods, the watershed of Lake Baikal formed and developed. Moreover, its water level increased due to the gradual melting of icebergs or glaciers.

As theorized, a series of lakes must have formed first, then reunited in Pliocene about 5-3 million years ago. There are many geological presumptions regarding the unification of those lakes.

Since Lake Baikal is located in an active rift valley, more than 2000 earth-tremors can be observed every year. Because of that, the lake’s size increases inch by inch every year.

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Similarly, the lake’s depth also increases. Due to such evidence, some geophysics research also says Baikal Lake can be a derivative result of the ocean. The shores of Baikal keep on drifting apart from each other by 2 cm. each year.

All About Lake Baikal - the Deepest Lake in the World

What are the common features of Lake Baikal?

According to the lake Baikal studies, Lake Baikal houses more than 20 islands that are still uninhabited. The largest island in this lake is Olkhon, stretched 45 miles long.

This island has many villages where approximately 1500 inhabitants reside there. There are more than 300 rivers and streams that fall into Lake Baikal. But there is only one river through which Baikal river flows out its water: River Angara.

The Angara carries out 60 cubic km of water to the Yenisei River in the Arctic Ocean every year. The largest water source of Lake Baikal is the Selenga River, which puts up 50% of the lake’s water source. Baikal is the only rare lake with oxygenated water even at its lowest depth.

Despite Baikal’s bottom being warm, its heat source is still unknown. Although Lake Baikal is very warm compared to other parts of Siberia, the lake can freeze in winter.

Its ice layer can be up to six feet thick as its average temperature in winter fall up to minus 21 degree Celsius. This is why Baikal is also considered one of the coldest lakes in the world. In summer, the average water temperature is about 10 degrees Celsius.

How is the ecosystem of Baikal ecosystem?

As one of the UNESCO world heritage sites, Lake Baikal is also known as the “Galapagos of Russia.”

Apart from being the deepest lake in the world, Lake Baikal sports exceptional biodiversity. One of the richest freshwater ecosystems can show a substantial evolutionary science.

As it contains dissolved oxygen till the lake’s bottom, more than 2500 plant and animal species can be found. Many unique and rare species are present in Lake Baikal, rarely found anywhere else. Studies say that more than 30-40% of lake’s species still have not been detailed and traced yet.

Fauna around Baikal Area

One of Lake Baikal’s unique animal species is Nerpa, more like a Baikal seal. It is the only mammal present in Baikal Lake and the world’s exclusive freshwater seal.

Another unique species of Baikal is Omul, a type of whitefish that comes from the salmon family. This fish is the main attraction of its local market, and it is now endangered due to overexploitation. Another native species is oily, scaleless golomyanka fish.

In its diverse ecological specification, Baikal can involve 50+ pieces. More than a thousand species are aquatic invertebrates. This includes approximately a 100 flatworms, 700 species of anthropods, 200 species of molluscs, etc.

Other than the in-water species, many land-based animals are present in this deepest lake in the world. These species include reindeer, boars, polecats, Siberian Roe deer, bears, elk, wolves, sable, etc. More than 230 bird species inhabit this lake. About 29 species are from order Anseriformes. Many bird species are from Eastern Asia too.

Flora around Baikal area

Lake Baikal watershed houses many hydrophytes. Generally, there are not many submerged vascular plants exist in the lake.

However, at the shore, some macrophytic plants can be present. Baikal might have more than 90 submerged macrophytes. Some of the most addressed macrophytes are Ceratophyllum, Potamogeton, Myriophyllum, Sparganium, etc.

Rather than vascular plants, Lake Baikal has aquatic flora in abundance like Draparnaldioides, Tetraspora, Ulothrix, etc., about 20 meters in depth. From 30 meters deeper from the water surface, Draparmaldioides, Cladophora, Aegagrophila, etc.

Studies even show that 400 plus diatom species are also present in Baikal, Both benthic organisms and planktons. In addition to that, the Lake Baikal area has more than ten to twenty tree species such as spruce, fir, cedar, etc. Pine trees are the indigenous species to the area of Angara River.

Deepest lakes in the world

Here is a list of other deep lakes in the world –

Tanganyika

Right after Lake Baikal, Central Africa has the second deepest lake in the world, Tanganyika. Its depth is about 4,823 feet. This lake is also the longest freshwater lake in the world that is stretched for 410 miles. Tanganyika is the largest lake among the Albertine Rift lakes.

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Caspian Sea

Despite its name, the Caspian Sea is more of a lake, although it has a sea-like size and depth. Moreover, the Caspian Sea is the world’s largest inland water body and holds the third rank as the deepest lake in the world. Its depth is 3,363 feet. Although it’s the third deepest lake in the world from its depth point of view, it’s the world’s largest lake by surface area.

Caspian Sea

Vostok

Although fourth-ranked in the world’s deepest lake chart, Vostok is the largest one among the known lake of Antarctica. It is a subglacial lake situated at the southern Pole of Cold, just beneath Russia’s Vostok Station. It is also a freshwater lake with a water volume of 5,400 cubic Km. Its maximum depth is approximately 3300 feet. Lake Vostok has the largest number of species among others.

O’Higgins-San Martín Lake

O’Higgins-San Martín Lake is the deepest lake in the Americas, with a maximum depth of 836 meters, i.e., 2,743 feet. However, it’s the fifth deepest lake in the world.

This lake is located near O-Higgins Glacier in Chile and San Martin in Argentina. O’Higgins-San Martín’s signature milky light-blue color results from rock flour present under the water surface. Its major flow in water source is Mayer River and other streams, but the outlet is Pascua River.

Malawi

Malawi is the Sixth deepest lake globally, also known as Nyasa in Tanzania and Niassa in Mozambique. Its average depth is about 2,316 feet, with a water volume of approximately 8,400 cubic Km.

Lake Nyasa is the ninth largest lake in the world. However, it’s the third largest and second deepest lake in Malawi. Moreover, Nyasa holds the title of the fourth largest freshwater body globally. Due to its unique water condition, Nyasa hosts over 1000 species, and new species are adding up.

Malawi

IssykKul

IssykKul is acquiring the seventh rank of the deepest lake in the world list with its depth of 2,192 feet. The water volume of this lake is about 1738 cubic kilometers, located in the Northern Tian Shan mountains in Eastern Kyrgyzstan. As it’s cut off from Salty Lake with small and dusty hills, IssykKul’s water is slightly salty. Moreover, this lake has no outflow watershed, so the salts remain after evaporation.

Great Slave Lake

Great Slave Lake is the eighth deepest lake in the world, located in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Its maximum depth is approximately about 2015 feet, and water volume is about 1580 cubic km.

As the name suggests, the Slavey First Nations people resided near this lake’s shores. This lake was formed approximately 10,000 years ago after the end of Wisconsinan glaciation. Additionally, this lake is much deeper than other glacial lakes in North America or Europe.

Crater Lake

You may wonder about Crater Lake deepest lake in the world; however, it’s the deepest lake in the United States. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the world, as a volcanic crater lake formed from a volcanic eruption.

This lake ranks 9th place in the list of deepest lakes in the world, with a depth of 1,949 feet. The attractive feature of this lake is that there is no river flow in or out of it. However, its water level gets balanced with rainfall, groundwater, and evaporation.

Crater Lake

Matano Lake

Matano Lake is a natural lake located in Indonesia’s East Luwu Regency, South Sulawesi Province. This lake holds the 10th rank of the world’s deepest lakes with a maximum depth of 1936 feet. Matano Lake’s surface elevation starts from the mean sea level of 382 m. This indicates the deepest part of the lake lies even below sea level.

Final thoughts

Now you have all the major information regarding the world’s deepest lake. It is important to note that geological changes happen frequently and brings changes in the depth of water bodies’ bottom surface. Although the deepest lakes’ rank is derived by measuring the maximum depth, most geological studies consider mean depth more significant.

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