Lakes are land-locked bodies of water that do not drain directly into the sea. Although none are as deep as the oceans, some are surprisingly deep and need specialized diving equipment to reach the lowest levels. At least one of the deepest lakes is popularly known as a sea, but technically it is a lake. When measuring depth, lakes are not measured from sea level. Because lakes are on the continental plate, some are well above or below the sea level. Therefore, these depths start from the average surface level to the deepest part of the body of water.


1. Lake Baikal, Russia

The deepest lake in the world is Lake Baikal in Russia. At 5,387 feet (1,642 meters) the Baikal holds over 22% of the planet's liquid freshwater - more than all the Great Lakes of North America combined. The total volume of water in the lake is approximately 5,660 cubic miles (23,615 cubic kilometers).

Lake Baikal formed as the continental plate it sits on stretched and pulled apart some 30 million years ago. This pulling formed a rift valley, which is the first stages of ocean formation. For unknown reasons, the forces that ripped open the Earth's crust to make this rift then stopped pulling the split open. The fissure filled with water and created the Baikal lake.

Lake deepest Baikal deep water avdeev007 / Getty Images


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