9 Deepest Lakes in the World – One American Lake on the List

Home to monsters and legends, lakes are fascinating pieces of nature. Our technology allows us to know what lies so many feet underwater, but the myths are no less wonderful (or scary) to imagine.

On that note, according to Brittanica, these are the nine deepest lakes on Earth. Did you know one of them is in the U.S.?

Let’s Dive In

Biologist holding a test tube.
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Since 1768, Britannica has been a global leader in information. Their experts compiled a list of the deepest lakes in the world from surface level to the deepest point. A team of editors with extensive knowledge in their fields reviewed the list. 

1: Lake Baikal 

Baikal Lake in Russia.
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Lake Baikal is a massive ancient lake in Siberia that earns the award of being the deepest lake in the world (5,315 feet) and the largest freshwater lake. It’s home to many species that you won’t find anywhere else. Lake Baikal is nearly four times deeper than Lake Superior, the deepest of the Great Lakes. 

2: Lake Tanganyika 

Lake Tanganyika.
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Encompassing Zambia, Burundi, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo is Lake Tanganyika, the second-deepest lake on Earth. At its deepest point, the lake reaches 4,710 feet. Interestingly, the deepest water in Lake Tanganyika is only about 3.6°F colder than the surface-level water, something that continues to perplex scientists.

3: Caspian Sea 

Caspian Sea.
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As the world’s largest salt lake and largest fully enclosed body of water, the Caspian Sea plunges 3,360 feet below the surface. The lake, which sits between the Caucasus Mountains and the Central Asian Steppe, is the biggest sturgeon spawning ground in the world.

4: Lake Vostok 

Iced over lake.
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Lake Vostok in Antarctica may not look like your average lake at first glance—its free-flowing freshwater is buried under nearly 2.5 miles of ice. At its deepest point, Lake Vostok is 2,950 feet deep. Researchers had been aware of Lake Vostok’s presence since the 1970s, but it took until 2012 for scientists to drill to the lake’s surface. They’ve since discovered many new forms of bacterial life.

5: O’Higgins/San Martín Lake 

A lake in Patagonia
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Called “O’Higgins” in Chile and “San Martín” in Argentina, this little-known lake makes the top five deepest lakes in the world. The 2,742-foot-deep lake is fed by the O’Higgins Glacier, causing it to have a milky turquoise color. Where does the color come from, you ask? Rock flour, which is fine rock particles that scrape off large rocks when glaciers move against them.

6: Lake Nyasa 

Lake Nyasa.
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Stretching over 350 miles, Lake Nyasa is an incredibly long lake and one of the deepest in the world. As many as 1,000 fish species have been recorded in the 2,316-foot lake, making it home to about 15% of all freshwater fish species on Earth. 

7: Lake Ysyk 

Lake Ysyk.
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At 2,192 feet deep, Lake Ysyk in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan is one of the world’s deepest lakes. Its name translates to “Hot Lake” since, despite area winter temperatures dipping in the negatives, it never freezes over. There are even rumors of ancient ruins that supposedly lie beneath the lake. As if Lake Ysyk doesn’t have enough notable items to its name, it’s the second largest high-altitude lake in the world (Lake Titicaca on the border of Peru and Bolivia is the largest).

8: Great Slave Lake

Great Slave Lake.
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Great Slave Lake’s name may make you shudder, but it’s named after a group of Athabascan-speaking Indians called the Slave. Great Slave Lake is the deepest in North America. At 2,015 feet, this lengthy lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories is frozen for nearly half the year, with ice so thick it becomes a shortcut for trucks and cars headed to the community of Dettah. Would you be brave enough to drive over an iced lake?

9: Crater Lake 

Crater Lake in Oregon.
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Located in the Cascade Range in Oregon, Crater Lake is a uniquely deep blue lake that sits 1,943 feet deep. To put that in perspective, you could stack the Eiffel Tower, Washington Monument, and Statue of Liberty on top of each other and still have 100 feet of water above them. It’s the deepest lake in the US and has uncanny clarity, with visibility often being 102 feet deep. 

Going Deeper 

Lake Baikal, Russia.
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Did you know Lake Baikal is home to 20% of the world’s unfrozen freshwater reserves? That should give you an idea of how extensive this body of water is.

Seal of Approval

Baikal seals on a rock.
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Another remarkable aspect of Lake Baikal is the seal of the same name that calls it home. It’s the only seal species living exclusively in a freshwater habitat worldwide. The Baikal seal can sometimes be found meandering up nearby streams, with the farthest seal sighting being nearly 250 miles upstream.

Ancient Age 

Baikal Lake with ice.
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In addition to its depth, Lake Baikal is estimated to be 20-25 million years old, making it the oldest lake in the world. To put it into perspective, Lake Baikal was established when Megalodons (giant mackerel sharks) were still swimming in the ocean. 

Strong Water Cycle 

Snowy Crater Lake.
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Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the US, is fascinating for more than just its depth. Unlike most lakes, it has no rivers that flow into or out of it. Geology.com says the lake’s water level balances rainfall, groundwater flow, and evaporation. 

Lake Origins  

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According to WorldAtlas, lakes usually form from landslides, sinkholes, volcanic eruptions, and glacier movements. Over time, lakes can run out of water due to how the Earth around them transitions. 

Traveling Without ATM Fees

Woman at an ATM.
Photo Credit: HappyAlex via stock.adobe.com.

How does never paying an ATM fee when you travel to visit these lakes sound? Discover the trick to doing just that from a traveler who’s saved hundreds of dollars in ATM fees.

How To Never Pay an ATM Fee Abroad

15 “Yummy” Bugs That Some Cultures Eat Every Day

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Eating bugs might not fit your idea of a gourmet meal, but in many cultures, these critters are dietary staples. Considering their numerous health benefits and minimal environmental impact, perhaps it’s time for Americans to start considering incorporating insects into our diets.

15 “Yummy” Bugs That Some Cultures Eat Every Day

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