The Oldest Lake in The World: Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is the oldest lake in the world and a freshwater reservoir located in the southern part of the Siberian region of the Russian Federation. Scientists guess that the lake is about 20-25 million years old.

The Russians call it Orejo Beykal or Baikal, and the people named this reservoir in the Tiurisk regional word bai-kul. It means rich lake in English. The lake is also known as the Siberian Pearl.

The oldest lake in the world

You will find the name of Lake Baikal in general knowledge books as the deepest lake on the planet earth. The reservoir is about 1,620 meters deep and covers an area of ​​31,500 square kilometers.

But the reservoir is not unique in its antiquity and depth. It is also the largest freshwater lake on the planet earth. One-fifth of the world’s freshwater (23,000 cubic km) flows through this majestic reservoir.

The Oldest Lake in The World

This majestic reservoir is one of the most sacred in Russia. Miraculous stories surrounding this reservoir are also prevalent in many areas. Especially in winter, when the water freezes and turns into ice, you will see a ring.

Various legends were surrounding this ring at one time. But, scientific research has disappointed believers in these theories.

Scientists found that the contact of surface ice with the warm water of the reservoir work to form the ring, which is about 6 km in diameter.

But, according to the beliefs of the people of different villages, this reservoir is still sacred. These villagers perform various rituals around the holy lake in different ways.

People have been living in the oldest lake in the world since ancient times. According to history, people first found the oldest lake in the world in the 6th century BC.

Siberia, Russia
Lake typeAncient lake, Continental rift lake
Catchment area560,000 km2 (216,000 sq mi)
Basin countriesMongolia and Russia
Max. length636 km (395 mi)
Max. width79 km (49 mi)
Average depth744.4 m (2,442 ft)

The name of this region is available in the pages of history because it was one of the battlefields of the Han-Xianggu War. That war took place between 133 BC and 89 AD.

The history of this reservoir is so ancient that the locals believe that Jesus Christ himself visited this reservoir area. But there is no historical document.

Kurbat Ivanov, a Russian citizen, was the first to enter the reservoir from Europe. He achieved this feat in 1643. At that time, Siberia was not a part of the Russian Empire.

When Russia occupied Siberia in the 17th century, the oldest lake in the world became part of the great Russian Empire.

The question is, how old is this lake? Science says the lake is at least 25 million years old. The reservoir basin location is in an ancient rift depression of glacial origin.

High peaks of mountain ranges and hills covered with dense forests surrounded it. It also borders the Irkutsk region and the Republic of Buryatia. Geologists gave some interesting information about this attractive place.

Baikal shows seaboards of North America, Europe, and Africa looked. These seaboards began to separate millions of years ago.

The artistic view of the oldest lake in the world and the crystal clear water are synonymous. The water of this reservoir is one of the purest and cleanest waters on the planet earth.

In the summer, the ice of the Siberian mountains liquefies completely and fills the shores of the reservoir. Then it can be seen through the transparent chest up to a depth of 39 meters.

The reasons behind this transparency are pure ice meltwater. Eating plankton dirt in the reservoir chest and the nonappearance of mineral salts are also the reason.

The discovery of Twenty-six small islands happened till now in the oldest lake in the world. Most of these islands are uninhabitable. But, human settlements on some islands are noticeable.

Their largest island, Alakhan, is 72 km long. The population is about 1,500. In prehistoric times, the movement of the earth’s surface resulted in the formation of mountains surrounding the reservoir.

Temperatures are much lower in most parts of the Siberian region. But, the climate of the oldest lake in the world is much warmer than that. The average winter temperature here is -21 ° Celsius.

In August, the temperature rises to 11 ° Celsius. Lake Baikal is a source of biodiversity. About 1,700 species of animals have made the reservoir area energetic.

Hundreds of species of plants are available in the vicinity of the reservoir. Most of the animals found here are endemic, and Baikal is a rich source for biologists and researchers.

Fauna and Flora of This Attractive Place

This majestic Russian reservoir is rich in biodiversity. You will find more than 1,000 species of plants and 2500 species of animals in this place. But the actual figures for both species are believed to be higher. More than 80% of the animals in this place are endemic.


The watershed of this magnificent place has many floral species represented. The marsh thistle is available here at the eastern limit of its geographic range.

Submerged macrophytic vascular plants are rare, except in some shallow bays along the shores of Lake Baikal.

More than 85 species of submerged macrophytes are available in this place. These include genera such as Myriophyllum, Ceratophyllum, Potamogeton, and Sparganium.


A wide range of land mammals is available in the habitats around the reservoir. These land mammals include Eurasian brown bear and wolf, red fox, sable, stoat, elk, wapiti, and reindeer.

They also include Siberian roe deer and musk deer, wild boar, red squirrel, chipmunk, marmots, lemmings, and mountain hare.

Populations of the European bison were available near the reservoir in the Early Middle Ages. It represented the easternmost range of the species.


Nearly 236 species of birds inhabit this attractive place, 29 of which are waterfowl. Although named after the lake, both the Baikal teal and Baikal bush warbler are widespread in the region of eastern Asia.

Lake Baikal


Two species of grayling are available only in Baikal and rivers that drain into the reservoir. Fewer than 65 native fish species dwell in the lake basin, but more than half of these are endemic.

The omul is endemic to this place and a source of income for many locals. Omul is a valuable local species for fisheries, an endemic whitefish.

It is caught, smoked, and sold in markets around the reservoir. Also, a second endemic whitefish inhabits the reservoir, C. baicalensis.

The Baikal black grayling, Baikal sturgeon, and Baikal white grayling are other species. They also have a significant commercial value.


This magnificent place hosts a rich endemic fauna of invertebrates. The copepod Epischura baikalensis is endemic to this majestic place and is the dominating zooplankton species, making up 80 to 90% of total biomass.

Scientists estimated that the epicureans filter as much as a thousand cubic kilometers of water a year. It also means the lake’s entire volume every twenty-three years.


The climate of this magnificent place is much milder than that of the surrounding territory. The winter air temperatures of this reservoir average −6 °F, and August temperatures average 52 °F.

Lake Baikal

The surface of this magnificent lake freezes in January and thaws in May or June. The water temperature at the surface of this reservoir in August is between 50 and 54 °F.

It reaches 68 °F in the offshore shallows, and waves can be as high as 15 feet of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

FAQ: Five Facts about The Oldest Lake in The World

One of the most amazing places on our wonderful planet, this lovely lake is stunning. This magnificent reservoir in the Russian Federation has many things to offer to the people of this planet.

  1. Why is Lake Baikal so deep?

    This magnificent lake is deep cause it is in an active continental rift zone. The rift zone is widening at a rate of about 1 inch per year.

    As the rift grows continuously wider, it also grows deeper through subsidence. So, this magnificent reservoir could become deeper than this time in the future.

  2. Can you swim in the Baikal lake?

    Not only is this magnificent reservoir safe to swim in, but it also boasts some of the purest water on the planet earth. The only drawback of swimming here is the temperature – even during the warmer months.

  3. What is wrong with Lake Baikal?

    This beautiful place is so big that often mistaken for the sea. This attractive reservoir is the deepest and oldest lake on the planet earth.

    This freshwater reservoir is the largest by volume and is famous for its crystal clear waters and unique wildlife. This attractive place of the world has threats from pollution, poaching, and development.

  4. Is Lake Baikal drying up?

    The dramatic drying of the magnificent reservoir is causing tensions between the two regions that rely on it. In the Buryat Republic, upstream of the lake, wells are running empty. The fishing areas of the industry are struggling with decreasing fish populations.

  5. Why is Lake Baikal so clear?

    This magnificent lake acts like a kind of treatment plant, turning out clear, pure water. The transparency of this reservoir changes depending on the quantity of sediment. This magnificent reservoir gets the sediment from rivers and the growth of plankton. The transparency rate is low at the mouths of rivers and near them.