Lake Baikal is the oldest lake in the world as well as the deepest. It is located in southeast Siberia.

Why Is It Famous?

The fame of Lake Baikal comes from a combination of its age and depth. It is 25 million years old and 1,700 meters deep, the highest figures for each. It is also the world’s largest freshwater lake based on volume. Additionally, the lake is popular for its isolated location, which means it has unusual freshwater fauna that scientists are very interested in.

What Is Nearby?

This lake sits in southeastern Siberia, with the Buryat Republic in the southeast and Irkutsk Oblast in the northwest.

Geological Description

Lake Baikal is so deep and large that it contains almost 20 percent of all the unfrozen fresh water in the world. It is also incredibly rich from an evolutionary perspective, thanks to its variety of endemic fauna and flora. This combination led to UNESCO declaring it a World Heritage Site in 1996.

The lake was formed on what was once a rift valley, giving it a long and crescent shape. The bottom of the lake sits 1,186.5 meters below sea level, with another seven kilometers of sediment underneath. As such, the lake’s rift floor is the deepest continental rift on the planet, 8-11 kilometers below the surface. This rift is active and young, widening around two centimeters annually. The seismically active fault zone leads to natural hot springs in the area and an earthquake every several years. There are mountains to every side of the lake.

Events in Time

During the 1990s, Russia, Japan, and the United States cooperated to perform deep-drillings and study the core sediments of the lakes. This gives experts an idea of the area’s climatic variation in the last 6.7 million years.


Lake Baikal is the oldest lake in the world as well as the deepest and the largest by volume. It is also known for its incredible ecosystem with unique flora and fauna.