The “Blue Eye” of Siberia: Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal, whose shallower northern section is partially blanketed by snow and ice, is in southern Siberia in Russia. It is located between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, near the city of Irkutsk.
At more than 25 million years old, it is the oldest lake in the world, and at 1,637 meters (5,370 ft), it is also the deepest. Baikbal contains more water than all of the North American Great Lakes combined.
However, Lake Baikal contains less than one third the amount of water as the Caspian Sea, which is the largest lake in the world.
Lake Baikal was formed in an ancient rift valley and therefore, is long and crescent-shaped with a surface area (31,494 km2/12,160 sq mi), less than 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.