11 Deepest Lakes on Earth
See the eleven deepest lakes in the world including Crater Lake and Lake Baikal
This article lists the ten deepest lakes found on earth. These are not necessarily the largest lakes on the planet or in the world in terms of surface area but the lakes which hold the largest volumes of water.
The deepest lakes in the world are spread out across the planet with every continent having at least one except Australia and Europe though Europe can be included if you consider the Caspian Sea part of the continent and the Caspian Sea a lake.
The deepest lake entirely and without dispute in Europe is Hornindalsvatnet in Norway which is the 12th deepest lake on earth. The deepest lake in Australia is Lake St. Clair in Tasmania which is only about 650 feet deep and well short of making this list.
Some of these lakes are great tourist attractions and others are heavily used for commerce and most are used for both. Outdoor activities like hiking and fishing are popular in and around most of the ten deepest lakes on planet earth and some of them have hotels, resorts and spas along their shores.
10 Deepest Lakes on Earth
1. Lake Baikal - 5,369 feet deep
Lake Baikal is known as the Blue Eye or Pearl of Siberia and is an incredible 5,369 feet deep. It's area and depth is so large Lake Baikal contains more water than all the Great Lakes in the United States combined and about 20% of all the fresh surface water in the world.
Baikal is also the oldest lake on earth and one of the clearest with visibility down to 130 feet. Due to thermal vents that are believed to be at the bottom Lake Baikal supports a vast array of endemic species more than any other lake in the world.
Lake Baikal has a rich history and some believe that Olkhon Island in the lake was the birthplace of Genghis Khan. The weather here can be brutal and Lake Baikal freezes over for 5 months every year due to the extremely low temperatures in the area but in the summer Baikal is getting more and more popular with tourists and outdoor enthusiasts like fisherman and there are spas along the shoreline.
2. Lake Tanganyika - 4,823 feet
Lake Tanganyika is located in Africa where it is shared by four different countries - Democratic Republic of the Congo (45% of the lake), Tanzania (41%), Zambia and Burundi. Lake Tanganyika is a source of the Congo River which is the 8th longest river in the world and second longest in Africa after the Nile.
Crocodiles and hippopotamus can both be found in the lake as well as many colorful species of fish that aquarium owners around the world covet. The million or more people who live around Lake Tanganyika rely heavily on fish from the lake for food. Some tourists in Africa for safaris will also take a side tour of Lake Tanganyika.
3. Caspian Sea - 3,363 feet
The Caspian Sea is located in western Asia where it is shared by five countries - Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Azerbaijan. The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water in the world and is often considered the largest surface volume lake on earth though its water is not fresh.
Over 130 rivers flow into the Caspian Sea the largest of which is Russia's Volga River. Whether or not the Caspian Sea should be considered a lake since its water is not fresh is debatable. Cruises around the Caspian Sea are available for tourists.
4. Lake Vostok - 3,000 feet
There are more than 140 lakes under the surface of Antarctica and Lake Vostok is the largest and deepest of these so called sub-glacial lakes. It is located below the Russian Antarctic Research Station called Vostok. No life has yet been found at Lake Vostok but due to its similarity to Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's moon Enceladus if life were to be found at Lake Vostok it could mean life exists on Europa and Enceladus too.
5. O'Higgins-San Martin Lake - 2,742 feet
The O'Higgins-San Martin Lake is located in the Patagonia section of South America and is the largest lake in the Americas. Shared by both Chile and Argentina the O'Higgins section is considered the Chilean part of the lake and the San Martin section considered the Argentinean side. Bernardo O'Higgins and Jose de San Martin were freedom fighters who fought together for independence of Chile and Argentina from Spain back in the early 1800's.
6. Lake Malawi or Nyasa - 2,316 feet
Lake Malawi is located in southeastern Africa about 200 miles southeast of Lake Tanganyika. Lake Malawi is shared by 3 African nations - Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. The lake was discovered in 1859 by European explorer David Livingstone who named it Nyasa which meant lake or large body of water in the local language.
Today the countries of Malawi and Tanzania dispute which parts of the lake belong to each country with Malawi generally trying to claim all of the lake's surface area that is not in Mozambique. Tours of Lake Malawi are available and like Lake Tanganyika many travelers in Africa for safaris will take a side trip to see Malawi and try their luck fishing here.
7. Lake Issyk Kul - 2,192 feet
Lake Issyk Kul is located in the northern part of the central Asia country of Kyrgyzstan about 100 miles west of the Chinese border. Though located in the Tian Shan Mountains which are part of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 video game, Lake Issyk Kul never freezes and its name means "hot lake" in the Kyrgyz language. The lake is part of the Issyk-Kul Biosphere Reserve and is a popular vacation spot in Kyrgyzstan with many health spas and resorts along the lake's shoreline.
8. Great Slave Lake - 2,015 feet
The Great Slave Lake is located in Canada in the southern part of the Northwest Territories about 50 miles north of the Alberta border. The lake was named for the English translation of the Cree Indian word for their enemies the Dene whom the Cree often enslaved.
Gold was discovered around the Great Slave Lake in the 1930s and the town of Yellowknife sprang up on the northern shores of the lake in 1935. Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest Territories and goods often have to be shipped up here in the wintertime so trucks can cross ice highways or ice roads over the lake and other bodies of water in the area.
Parts of the Great Slave Lake are frozen for eight months out of the year but when not frozen the lake is a popular fishing destination and a great place for bird watching.
9. Crater Lake - 1,949 feet
Crater Lake is located in Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon. It was formed when the top of the Mount Mazama volcano collapsed. Crater Lake is well known for its beautiful deep blue color and clear water and is also one of the most popular places in the United States for hiking.
Crater Lake is well visited in the summer and there is the beautiful rustic Crater Lake hotel lodge in the park for overnight travelers. Swimming is allowed in the lake and the daily summer boat tours stop at the magical cinder cone Wizard Island.
Fishermen love Crater Lake as landlocked sockeye salmon known as Kokanee Salmon and rainbow trout inhabit the lake and no license is required to fish for them nor or there any limits on size or how many fish you can keep.
10. Lake Matano - 1,936 feet
Lake Matano is located in a remote section of Indonesia where sediment from nickel mining is providing a serious and growing challenge to the exceptional clarity of the water and threatening endemic fish species in the lake.
11. General Carrera Lake - 1,923 feet
General Carrera Lake is located in the Patagonia section of South America and like the O'Higgins-San Martin Lake is shared by both countries. The lake is known as Lake Buenos Aires in Argentina and Lake General Carrera in Chile and is located about 200 miles north of O'Higgins-San Martin Lake. The lake is included here because it is the 10th deepest lake in the world if you do not consider the Caspian Sea a lake.