What are the Deepest Lakes in the World?

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The world is dotted with stunning lakes, each with its own charm and allure. While many outdoor enthusiasts are looking for the best fishing lakes or recreation lakes in the world, many are struck by the awe and magnitude of lakes based upon their size.

Beyond surface acreage, however, is unimaginable depth. Two of the entries on this list of deepest lakes in the world actually span more than (or close to) a mile at the greatest depth.

Let’s diver deeper (pun intended, but seriously — don’t try to dive to the bottom of these mammoth lakes) into the depths!

First, we should note that this article is considering the deepest lakes in the world. You can learn about the largest lakes in the world (by surface area) here.

List of the Five Deepest Lakes in the World

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal_Worlds Deepest Lake
Lake Baikal — the World’s Deepest Lake (photo via Ekaterina Sazonova/UnSplash License)

Nestled in the heart of Siberia, Russia, Lake Baikal reigns as the deepest and oldest lake on Earth. This ancient marvel reaches a maximum depth of 5,387 feet (1,642 meters) and contains around 20% of the world’s unfrozen freshwater.

With crystal-clear waters and stunning landscapes, Lake Baikal boasts an extraordinary ecosystem, home to unique flora and fauna found nowhere else on the planet.

Lake Tanganyika

Spanning the borders of Tanzania, Congo, Burundi, and Zambia, Lake Tanganyika stands as the second deepest lake globally. Its maximum depth reaches an astonishing 4,823 feet (1,470 meters).

Known for its striking turquoise waters and surrounded by lush rainforests, Lake Tanganyika is not only a geological wonder but also an important habitat for countless species, including cichlid fish found nowhere else but in this African gem.

Caspian Sea

Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea (photo via Milad Fakurian/UnSplash License)

The Caspian Sea, bordered by five countries—Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Iran—holds the title of the world’s third deepest lake with a maximum depth of 3,363 feet (1,025 meters).

Despite its name, the Caspian Sea is technically a lake — and one of the eight largest in the world. Considering the lake spans across much of Eurasia, it is not only one of the deepest lakes in the world, but also the largest. In fact, it spans four times the surface of the next largest lake (Lake Superior).

Aside from its sheer magnitude, the Caspian Sea is home to a rich, ancient history, diverse cultural surroundings, and incredible biodiversity.

Lake Vostok

Hidden beneath the icy depths of Antarctica lies Lake Vostok. This is one of the most mysterious and least explored lakes on the planet in addition to being one of the deepest lakes in the world. The subglacial lake is located 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) below the surface and is shielded by a two-mile-thick ice sheet.

Although its exact depth is yet to be determined, it is believed to exceed 2,950 feet (900 meters). The unique location and structure of the lake certainly set it apart from the other lakes on this list.

Lake Vostok presents a fascinating opportunity for scientific exploration, offering insights into the possibility of life in extreme environments. Consider checking this article again in 20-30 years for accurate information about the exact depth of Vostok.

O’Higgins-San Martín Lake

Straddling the border between Argentina and Chile in Patagonia, the O’Higgins-San Martín Lake is among the world’s deepest lakes. This glacial lake reaches a maximum depth of 2,742 feet (836 meters) and is surrounded by towering mountains and majestic landscapes.

Its pristine waters, fed by glaciers, showcase mesmerizing shades of blue, attracting nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike.

It is also the only lake on this list located in the Americas (and the Western Hemisphere). In comparison, the deepest lake in the United States is Crater Lake, which has a maximum depth of 1,949 feet (594 meters).

Honorable Mentions: Incredibly Deep Lakes Just Missing the Cut

Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi
Lake Malawi (photo via Craig Manners/UnSplash License)

Located in the southeastern part of Africa, Lake Malawi (which is also known as Lake Nyasa) holds the distinction of being the sixth deepest lake in the world.

With a maximum depth of 2,316 feet (706 meters), Malawi misses inclusion on our list of the five deepest lakes in the world by a full American football field (and a few “first downs”), but it is still an incredible work of nature.

Malawi is also known for its beauty and recreational appeal. It serves as a haven for snorkelers, divers, and nature enthusiasts, offering glimpses into the mesmerizing underwater world.

Great Slave Lake

Situated in the northern part of Canada’s Northwest Territories, Great Slave Lake stands as the seventh deepest lake globally. As an honorable mention, it is also only the second Western Hemisphere lake and the first on the list situated in North America.

With a maximum depth of 2,015 feet (614 meters), it spans a vast area and possesses a unique beauty shaped by its Arctic surroundings.

Great Slave Lake is renowned for its pristine waters and picturesque landscapes, with its shoreline adorned by boreal forests and stunning sunsets. It offers abundant fishing opportunities, including the pursuit of trophy-sized lake trout, as well as a range of recreational activities, such as boating, kayaking, and winter ice fishing.

Viedma Lake

Another South American lake, Viedma is situated in the Santa Cruz Province in Argentina. Depending on the source, the lake’s maximum depth can range anywhere for a conservative depth of 1,440 feet (439 meters) to 3,000 feet (approximately 900 meters).

At the more conservative estimate, Viedma would still rank within the top 35 deepest lakes in the world. At the other end of the spectrum, Viedma would compete with Vostok for the spot as the world’s fifth deepest lake.

Final Thoughts on the Deepest Lakes in the World

The depths of these lakes invite us to witness the extraordinary wonders hidden beneath the surface. From the ancient splendor of Lake Baikal to the mysterious secrets held by Lake Vostok, each lake holds its own unique story and unparalleled beauty.

Whether it’s the African charm of Lake Tanganyika or the icy grandeur of the O’Higgins-San Martín Lake, these remarkable bodies of water remind us of the immense diversity and awe-inspiring power of our planet’s natural landscapes.

So, let us embark on a journey to explore the depths and revel in the magnificence of these five deepest lakes in the world.

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