Among the extraordinary works of nature are the deepest lakes, which stand out for their exceptional diversity of flora and fauna. These lakes are habitats for many specific species, including endemic ones. They are also places attractive to tourists and conducive to recreation, beautiful and unique, and in an era of climate change there is a growing need to protect them. In this article we present the deepest lakes in the world along with some interesting facts about them.

1. Lake Baikal, Russia (depth: 1,642 m)

Baikal is the deepest and oldest freshwater lake in the world, some 25 million years old. It is also the largest freshwater reservoir by volume. It is located in the mountainous region of Siberia. In 1996. It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The symbol of Baikal is the endemic nerpa, or Baikal seal. The lake is home to unique and special aquatic organisms, 70 percent of which are in the area. is not found anywhere else in the world.

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pic. Envato Elements/Viktelminova

2. Lake Tanganyika, Africa (depth: 1,471 m)

It is the second deepest and longest freshwater lake in the world. It is part of the African Great Lakes complex and stores 15 percent of the Earth’s freshwater resources. It is known as a place to source aquarium fish for export. Tanganyika is one of the richest freshwater ecosystems in the world, home to some 2,000. species of fish, plants, crustaceans and birds. About 500 species are found nowhere else, and 50 percent. Of these are fish of thecichlid (Cichlidae) clade.

3. the Caspian Sea, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Azerbaijan (max. depth: 1,025 m)

The Caspian Sea, despite its name, is not a sea. Its huge surface area, depth and high salinity qualify it for this category, but due to its completely closed basin it falls into the category of lakes. It is located between Europe and Asia and is home to endemic species such as the Caspian tern, Caspian turtle and Caspian seal. Currently, many species living in its area are threatened with extinction due to habitat destruction, pollution, overexploitation of water, or shrinking of the lake under climate change.

4. Lake Vostok, Antarctica (depth: 914 m)

Vostok is one of the subglacial lakes (subglacial lakes) of Antarctica. They were discovered in 1996. The ice layer covering it is 4 kilometers thick. According to some estimates, the cover has cut them off and isolated them from the outside world for 25 million years. This, in turn, meant that the gene pool of the microorganisms living there has not changed since the days when Antarctica was still covered with forest.

5. Lake O’Higgins-San Martin, Argentina, Chile (depth: 836 m)

Lake O’Higgins-San Martin is located on the territory of two countries: Argentina and Chile. It owes its distinctive blue-milky color to the surrounding mountains, from which the rock (stone) meal comes. It enters its waters with the melting glacier. The lake has a peculiar shape – eight arms spread out along the valleys, having national borders for nothing.

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pic. betoscopio/Wikipedia

6. Lake Malawi, Africa (depth: 706 m)

Also known as Niassa and Nyasa, it is the second of Africa’s Great Lakes. Malawi plays an important economic role – there are fishing villages along its shores, and its waters are home to the largest number of lake fish species in the world (90 percent. of these species are cichlids Cichlidae, including a cichlid with a unique appearance, called by natives as Mbuna). The lake is a popular place for kayaking, sailing or scuba diving. Malawi has been identified by the Living Lakes Network as endangered in 2022.

7. Lake Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan (depth: 668 m)

Although its name literally translated from Kyrgyz means “warm lake,” in January 2023. The air temperature over the water dropped to -30°C, causing the first-ever Issyk-Kul freeze. It is called the Pearl of Kyrgyzstan and is an IBA (Important Bird Area – areas recognized by Bird Life International as important for the conservation of bird populations). Issyk-Kul is the largest tourist resort in Central Asia – there are many resorts and sanatoriums around the lake.

8th Great Slave Lake, Canada (depth: 614 m)

The name of the lake refers to the tribe of “Slavey” Indians living in the area. Due to the low temperatures in the area, for about eight months of the year the lake is partially frozen, while in winter the ice layer is extremely thick – trucks with trailers can drive on it. However, climate change has led to earlier melting of the ice caps, making conditions for drivers dangerous and unpredictable. Great Slave Lake is also a stopover and habitat for many water birds.

9th Crater Lake, USA (depth: 592 m)

Crater Lake is located in the national park of the same name and is a popular destination for tourists. Its unique blue color comes directly from snow and rainfall – because the lake has no inlets or outlets, so no pollution carried by the current of rivers enters it. This translates into the exceptional purity of its waters and the associated high transparency.

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pic. Camerong1980~commonswiki/Wikipedia

World’s deepest lakes threatened by climate change and more

The world’s deepest lakes play a vital role in understanding the Earth’s complex ecosystems and the evolution of life – their unique characteristics make them capable of serving as natural laboratories. Lakes are susceptible to worsening climate change, and this phenomenon is not bypassing the world’s deepest ones either. Their fragile, mostly endemic ecosystems are threatened not only by the changing climate, but also by encroaching alien and invasive species that can spread at an alarming rate.

The lakes are also threatened by pollution and excessive human use of their waters and shoreline areas, resulting in overfishing, deforestation and degradation of important habitats. Many of these lakes are covered by special programs and conservation initiatives, but in poorer countries the ability to implement them depends on external subsidies.

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