Nearly seventy percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water; from oceans to rivers, and lakes to streams. There are countless bodies of water across the globe that can be considered “lakes”, and it’s likely that we’ve all either seen, swam in, or boated on at least one of these bodies of water. However, a much smaller percentage of the population has had the pleasure of visiting the world’s “deepest” lakes, which are spread across the globe, from Siberia to Peru.
Topping the list of the world’s deepest lakes is Lake Baikal, located in Southern Siberia. This lake is affectionately referred to as the “Blue Eye of Siberia”, and measures a staggering 1,637 meters in depth, and comprises approximately 20 percent of the entire Earth’s surface fresh water. It is so large, that is actually holds more water than all of the North American Great Lakes combined!
Coming in second on the list of world’s deepest lakes is Lake Tanganyika, located in Central Africa. This lake is also considered the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume behind Lake Baikal, with a depth of 1,435 meters. This lake is home to over 400 species of fish, though most of these actually live along the shoreline and down to a depth of only 600 feet. The first known Westerners to discover the lake were the famous explores Richard Burton and John Speke, who were on an expedition to find the source of the Nile River.
The third deepest lake in the world is the famous Caspian Sea, which is located between Southern Russia and Iran, with a depth of 1,025 meters. This lake is actually considered the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, classed both as a lake and a full-fledged sea. It was originally thought to be a sea by its ancient discoverers due to the fact that it was “salty” and seemed to have no visible boundaries. Though it is “salty”, the actual salt content of the Caspian Sea is actually only one third that of ocean water.
Coming in fourth on the list of world’s deepest lakes is the O’Higgins-San Martin Lake located on the border of Chile and Argentina. To Chileans, the lake is known as O’Higgins, and to the Argentineans, it is known as the San Martin. At the deepest point, the lake is estimated to be nearly 836 meters. It is characterized by its brilliant “milky-blue” color, which comes from the “rock flour” that is suspended in its waters.
Also known as “Lake Nyasa”, is the fifth deepest lake in the world is located in the East African Rift Valley system in Africa, with a depth of approximately 706 meters. This lake is the third largest in Africa and the ninth largest in the entire world. Lake Malawi has a very interesting ecosystem, which is actually quite tropical and placid, and there are more species of fish in this lake than in any other lake in the world.
Coming in sixth on the list of deepest lakes in the world is the Issyk Kul, which is located in Eastern Kyrgyzstan, and has a depth of approximately 700 meters. It is actually an endorheic lake, which means that it is actually a closed drainage basin that has inward water flow, but no outward water flow (except evaporation). Issyk Kul is the site of a very important ancient metropolis that was built over 2500 years ago, and excavations in this area are ongoing.
With a depth of 614 meters, the Great Slave Lake in Canada is the seventh deepest lake in the world. It is the deepest lake in North America, and the ninth largest lake by volume in the entire world. The two top tributaries are the Hay and Slave Rivers, and it is primarily drained by the Mackenzie River. The lake was named for the Slavey North American Indians.
Located in the state of Oregon in the U.S. is the eighth deepest lake in the world, known as Crater Lake, with a depth of 594 meters. It is a caldera lake, which was formed after the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. This lake is the main feature of the Crater Lake National Park, and has an almost unearthly deep, glowing blue color and extreme clarity. There are no indigenous species of fish in the lake, though it was stocked between the years of 1888 to 1941, and now how a self-sustaining population.
The ninth deepest lake in the world is Lake Matano, located in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. This lake has a depth of 590 meters and is the deepest lake in Indonesia. On the banks of this lake is one of the largest Nickel mines in the entire world, which actually carries out strip mining in the surrounding rainforests. Sadly, this has had a devastating effect on the lake, which has extremely high levels of sediment due to the mining operations. Despite this, the waters of the lake are extremely clear, and there are many species of fish and plantlife in the waters.
Also known as the “Buenos Aires”, the General Carrera Lake is located in Patagonia and is shared by Argentina and Chile. It brings up the bottom of the top ten list of deepest lakes in the world, with a depth of 586 meters. It is considered the largest lake in Chile and the fourth largest in Argentina. The lake is actually of glacial origin, and is surrounded by the Andes Mountains.