Area: 31,722 km²

Length: 636 km

Max. depth: 1,642 m (5,387 ft)

Location: Siberia, Russia

Russia’s Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest, is in peril, scientists warn.
The oldest and deepest freshwater lake in the world Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake, curves for nearly 400 miles through southeastern Siberia, north of the Mongolian border. MOSCOW – Lake Baikal is undergoing its gravest crisis in recent history, experts say, as the government bans the catching of a signature fish that has lived in the world’s deepest lake for centuries but is now under threat. Holding one-fifth of the world’s unfrozen fresh water, Baikal in Russia’s Siberia is a natural wonder of \ “exceptional value to evolutionary science” meriting its listing as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. 
It lies in a cleft where Asia is literally splitting apart, the beginnings of a future ocean. Geologists say Baikal today shows what the seaboards of North America, Africa and Europe looked like as they began to separate millions of years ago. 
           More than 5,000 feet deep (1637m) at its most profound, with another four-mile-thick layer of sediment further down, the lake’s cold, oxygen-rich waters teem with bizarre life-forms. One of those is the seals’ favourite food, the golomyanka, a pink, partly transparent fish which gives birth to live young. Geologists estimate that Lake Baikal formed somewhere 20-25 million years ago, during the Mesozoic. Surrounded by mile-high snowcapped mountains, Lake Baikal still offers vistas of unmatched beauty. The mountains are still a haven for wild animals, and the small villages are still outposts of tranquillity and self-reliance in the remote Siberian taiga, as the forest is called.