By Humphrey Bwayo
Ever wondered how deep the deepest lake in the world is? The deepest lake in the world is approximately 5,314 feet deep (1,637 meters) with a depth that is 4,215 feet (1,285 meters) below sea level. To have a glimpse of this massive body of water, you will have to tour Russia. Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest freshwater lake in the world. This body of water curves for nearly 400 miles through southeastern Siberia, north of the Mongolia Border.
Lake Baikal is also the world’s most voluminous lake: it contains more freshwater than all Great Lakes combined. Being more than 5,000 feet deep, with a four-mile-thick layer of sediment beneath it, Lake Baikal is cold and oxygen-rich, and the waters teem with wildlife unique to the region. Approximately 80 percent of Lake Baikal’s wildlife exists nowhere else in the world, making it also one of the most biologically diverse lakes in the world.
Many lakes and rivers are formed by eons of erosion carving out the pockets of water. But Lake Baikal was not formed that way, which is precisely why it is so deep. Another unusual aspect of Lake Baikal, and the reason it is so deep, is that exists in a rift valley where the the Earth’s tectonic plates pull apart. River and glacial valleys are both formed from erosion, but rift valleys are created by the tectonic movement of Earth’s massive geological plates.
Lake Baikal was created because of the natural forces that are pulling apart the Eurasian Plate. Embodying some of the most unusual natural biology in the world as well as the most unusual natural geology, it only seems fitting that the lake should be named for Mother Nature. The lake’s name evolved from the word “Baigal” (Байгал) which is Mongolian for “nature.”
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