Lake Baikal - Deepest Lake | Underwater Wonders

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Lake Baikal is in Southern Siberia in Russia, located between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, near the city of Irkutsk. It is also known as the "Blue Eye of Siberia". It contains more water than all the North American Great Lakes combined. The Lake Baikal is one of the seven underwater wonders of the world and one of the seven wonders of the world.

At 1,637 metres (5,371 feet), Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world, and the largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, holding approximately twenty percent of the world's total surface fresh water. Like Lake Tanganyika, Lake Baikal was formed in an ancient rift valley and therefore is long and crescent shaped with a surface area less than half that of Lake Superior or Lake Victoria. Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

At more than 25 million years old, it is the oldest lake in the world. While Lake Baikal was known as the "North Sea" in historical Chinese texts, it was situated in the then Xionu territory and very little was known about Lake Baikal until the Transiberian railway was built between 1896 and 1902. The scenic loop encircling Lake Baikal needed 200 bridges and 33 tunnels.

As this railway was being built, a large hydrogeographical expedition headed by F.K. Drizhenko produced the first detailed atlas of the Contours of Baikal's depths. The atlas demonstrated that Lake Baikal has more water than all of North America's Great Lakes Combined 23,600 cubic kilometres, about one fifth of the 'total fresh water on the earth.

At 636 kilometres long and 79 kilometres Lake Baikal has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in Asia and is the deepest lake in the world. The bottom of the lake is 1,285 metres below sea level, but below this lies some 7 kilometres of sediment, placing the rift floor some 8, 9 kilometres (more than 5 miles) below the surface. the deepest continental rift on Earth.

In geological terms, the rift is young and active it widens about two centimetres per year. The fault zone is also seismically active: there are hot springs in the area and notable earthquakes every few years. It drains into the Angara tributary of the Yenisei.

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