The majority of the surface of Earth is covered in water. In fact, 71 percent of the earth is water. While 96.5 percent of this water is found in the oceans, a significant portion can be found in lakes, rivers, ice caps, and glaciers. Throughout history, mankind has relied on lakes and their tributaries to support life.
Ocean water contains salt, which we cannot sustain human life. It dries you out and leaves you dehydrated, while freshwater from lakes and rivers allow communities to thrive. As life revolves around lakes, it only makes sense that we would have mostly explored these lakes and discovered some interesting facts – including which ones are the biggest or deepest.
It is estimated that there are over 304 million lakes in the world and they comprise about 3.7 percent of the Earth’s non-glaciated land area.
If you are interested in learning more about the lakes of our world, start with this list of the 10 deepest lakes.
- #10 – Crater Lake (United States) 594 meters
- #9 – Clearwater Lake (Canada) 600 meters
- #8 – Great Slave Lake (Canada) 614 meters
- #7 – Issyk Kul (Kyrgyzstan) 668 meters
- #6 – Malawi (Mozambique) 706 meters
- #5 – O’Higgins-San Martin (Chile and Argentina) 836 meters
- #4 – Vostok (Antarctica) 1000 meters
- #3 – Caspian Sea (Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan) 1025 meters
- #2 – Tanganyika (Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Zambia) 1470 meters
- #1 – Baikal (Russia) 1,642 meters
#10 – Crater Lake (United States) 594 meters
Photo by: Arup De
Crater Lake, located in the state of Oregon, is the 10th deepest lake in the world, with a depth of 594 meters. Crater Lake is most famous for its deep blue color and water clarity. It deep caldera was formed after the collapse of a volcano over 7,000 years ago. There are no rivers flowering into or out of the lake, which is fairly unique for a lake, especially one as large as Crater Lake.
#9 – Clearwater Lake (Canada) 600 meters
Photo by: Andreas S.
At number nine is Clearwater Lake in Canada, with a depth of 600 meters. Clearwater Lake is located in Well Gray Provincial Park and is one of six large lakes in the area. The name comes from the fact that the water is so clear. When explorers first arrived at the lake, they were surprised by the clarity of the water, after traveling through the muddy rivers leading up to the lake.
#8 – Great Slave Lake (Canada) 614 meters
Great Slave Lake is the eighth deepest lake and has a depth of 614 meters. Located in the Northwest Territories of Canada, it is also the tenth largest lake. It has a water volume of 1,580 square kilometers. The word “Slave” in the name Great Slave Lake does not actually refer to slaves. Instead, it refers to the Slavey Indians that traded with fur traders in the region during colonial times.
#7 – Issyk Kul (Kyrgyzstan) 668 meters
Located in Kyrgyzstan, Issyk Kul has a depth of 668 meters, making it the seventh deepest lake in the world. The name means “warm lake” in the Kyrgyz language. Even though it is surrounded by mountains with snow-capped peaks, the lake never freezes. It is also the second-largest saline lake after the Caspian Sea. Due to the warmer water temperature, Issyk Kul became a popular tourist location during the Soviet era.
#6 – Malawi (Mozambique) 706 meters
Actually, three countries have borders along Malawi – Mozambique, Tanzania, and Malawi. Lake Malawi is the sixth deepest lake and has a depth of 706 meters. It has the distinction of being home to more species of fish than any other lake in the world. Lake Malawi is also the third-largest lake.
#5 – O’Higgins-San Martin (Chile and Argentina) 836 meters
O’Higgins-San Martin Lake is the fifth deepest, with a total depth of 836 meters. The actual name depends on whether you are in Chile or Argentina. In Chile, the lake is known as O’Higgins. In Argentina, it is called San Martin.
The area around the lake receives a lot of wind, so it was not fully settled until the 1910s when various British, Swiss, and Scandinavians began immigrating through the area and needed suitable land for raising sheep.
#4 – Vostok (Antarctica) 1000 meters
Vostok, which is Russian for “Lake East”, is the largest of the 400 sub-glacial lakes in Antarctica and the fourth deepest lake in the world – the total depth is 1000 meters. There is one island in the lake and only has one settlement – Vostok Station, which is a Russian research station.
The idea that lakes existed underneath the Antarctic ice sheets was first proposed at the end of the 19th century, but Vostok was not discovered until the 1970s, with confirmation of its existence coming in 1993.
#3 – Caspian Sea (Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan) 1025 meters
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed inland body of water on the planet. It has been classified as both a sea and a lake. Early inhabitants of the region surrounding the Caspian Sea originally thought that it was an ocean, due its large size and salt content. The surface covers 371,000 square kilometers and it is also the third deepest lake, with a total depth of 1025 meters.
#2 – Tanganyika (Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Zambia) 1470 meters
The second deepest and second-largest lake in the world is the Tanganyika. It is located in Africa and has a depth of 1470 meters. The lake is incredibly deep and the water along the lower depths of the lake are referred to as fossil waters. This is untouched water and is lacking oxygen, which means that it is highly unlikely there is any marine life at the lower depths of the lake.
#1 – Baikal (Russia) 1,642 meters
Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and has a depth of 1,642 meters. It is located in southern Siberia and contains about 20 percent of the world’s unfrozen surface freshwater. It contains more water than all of the North American Great Lakes combined. Along with being incredibly deep, Baikal is among the clearest and oldest lakes in the world.
Some of these lakes are incredibly deep. Most of these lakes are so deep that you could not swim to the bottom– even with diving equipment. The deeper you go, the more pressure. Once you reach about 100 feet, your lungs will begin to contract.
Even though you cannot dive to the bottom of some of these lakes, we have sent equipment and submersibles to these depths to further explore the bottoms of the lakes. These 10 lakes are the deepest lakes in the world, measured by their depth.