Lakes dot planet Earth, providing fresh water, respite for plant and animal life, and home and recreation for millions of people.
We found ourselves wondering what lakes in the world might be the very deepest, and what might await us in the dark confines of the deep?
There are hundreds of lakes that reach a thousand feet in depth, which in itself is very deep and impressive. But from there, the list dwindles, and we start to discover bodies of fresh water with truly amazing depths, the deepest reaching an astounding 5,387 feet, or 1642 meters.
These lakes vary wildly in location, from the ice and snow of Antarctica, to the tropical heat of sub-saharan Africa. Many of these lakes have endemic plants and animals, meaning they’re found nowhere else on the planet.
Take a look at our list of the top nine deepest lakes, starting with the very beautiful Crater Lake in Oregon.
9. Crater Lake, Oregon, United States
1,949 feet (594 meters)
An incredibly scenic lake that once was a massive volcano. Has some of the clearest and cleanest water in the world.
8. Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada
2,015 feet (614 meters)
The deepest lake in North America, the lake is located in Northern Canada where very few people live. The lake is covered in thick ice half of the year.
7. Lake Ysyk, Kyrgyzstan
2,192 feet (668 meters)
One of the largest alpine lakes in the world, the lake never freezes, due to slight salinity and geothermic activity.
6. Lake Niyasa (Lake Milawi), Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania
2,316 feet (706 meters)
This long and thin lake is home to astounding biodiversity, with over 1,000 species of fish. That amounts to over 15% of all freshwater fish species in the world.
5. O’Higgins/San Martín Lake, Chile, Argentina
2,742 feet (836 meters)
This glacial lake is located in the mountainous peaks of the Patgonian Andes.
4. Lake Vostok, Antarctica
2,950 feet (900 meters)
This enormous lake is buried under 2.5 miles of ice, making its exact measurements extremely difficult to achieve.
3. Caspian Sea, Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan,
3,363 feet (1,025 meters)
The largest fully enclosed body of water on earth, the Caspian Sea is a massive salt lake, with mostly shallow depths, aside from some very deep areas.
2. Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania, Congo, Burundi, Zambia
4,823 feet (1,470 meters)
Similarly slim and full of biodiversity to Lake Niyasa, Tanganyika has over 18% of the world’s freshwater, and has been home to fishing communities since the Stone Age.
1. Lake Baikal, Russia
5,387 feet (1,642 meters)
The oldest, the biggest, the deepest on Earth, Lake Baikal is full of superlatives. Located in the cold of Siberia, this massive lake has its own species of seal, not to mention 20% of the world’s freshwater.