Geographical Location and Dimensions
The deepest lake in the world is the Lake Baikal, which is located within the territory of Russia. Located in southern Siberia between the Irkutsk Oblast State and the Burmese Autonomous Republic, the lake has a maximum depth of 1637 meter and an average depth of 730 meter.
The formation of the Lake Baikal , which is called the Pearl of North or Siberia, dates back to 25 million years ago and is also called as the “Galapagos of Russia”.
The area of the Lake Baikal is 31722 km2 and this makes the lake the 7th longest lake of the world in this respect. Maximum length of the lake is 636 km and the maximum width is measured as 79.4 km. The total length of the circumference of the lake is 2100 km.
The Lake Baikal, with a volume of 23,000 km3, holds 80 percent of Russia’s total freshwater reserves and 20 percent of the world’s unfrozen freshwater resources.
The lake gets covered with ice for the most part of the year and ice thickness has an average of 2 meters. According to historical records; during the Russian-Japanese War of 1904-1905, thanks to the thickness of ice , Russians were able to provide logistical support to their army by building a railway line over the lake.
Rivers in the Lake Basin
The most important rivers carrying water to the Lake Baikal, which is fed by more than 300 riversand streams; Selenga, Chikoy, Kiloh, Uda, Barguzin and Upper Angara. On the other hand, Angara is the only river carrying water away from the lake. The Angara river conveys an average of 60 km3 of annual water to Yenisey, the 5th largest river in the world, and becomes part of the largest river system poured into Antarctica.
City and Islands
Irkutsk is the largest settlement near thelake and Listvyanka and Severobaikalsk are the small towns that attract tourists. With more than 30 islands on the lake, Olhon is the largest island and hosts 1,500 inhabitants.
Economic Value and Other Facts
- There is lumber transport and fishing in the lake.
- Trout is the most prominent of the fish species living in the lake.
- Baykal is among the cleanest lakes in the world.
- The graond of the lake is warm, but the source of this heat is not exactly known.
- Although Baykal has deep waters, it holds oxygen in its water and hosts one of the world’s most important ecosystems. There are over 50 species of fish in the lake and over 3,700 other forms of life.
- Increased industrialization and climate change affect the biological diversity of the lake in a negative way.