Growing up on the Great Lakes in Michigan, I have a very soft spot for the big 5: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior. H.O.M.E.S. is the easy way to remember that bunch. They’re wonderful, and epic. A trip to the Great lakes will give you an appreciation for freshwater like you’ve never had before. But we often forget the oldest, deepest, most unusual great lake in the world, Baikal. Located in southern Siberia, Lake Baikal is a rift valley lake, caused by earth’s crust slowly pulling apart. Over 25 million years old, the lake also contains nearly 20% of the world’s unfrozen fresh surface water.
Baikal’s age, as well as it’s extreme depth, (up to 5,387 feet deep!), has led to an incredible diversity of wildlife, including many species of completely endemic species. This includes more than 40 species of fish, and the world’s only freshwater seal.