Which Lake Holds the Most Fresh Water?

Crescent-shaped Lake Baikal, located in south-central Russia near the Mongolian border, is the largest freshwater lake in the world by water volume. It is also the world's deepest and oldest lake, and probably the clearest lake on Earth. Nicknamed “the Pearl of Siberia,” Lake Baikal is surrounded by mountains and sits on a continental rift zone between two plates of the Earth’s crust, which pull apart about an inch (2.54 cm) every year. estimates that the lake holds 5,521 cubic miles (23,013 cubic km) of water -- enough potential drinking water to keep the global population hydrated for 50 years.

Facts about the Sacred Sea:

  • Some geophysicists say that Lake Baikal is an ocean in the process of being born. The shores of the lake -- 49 miles (79 km) at its widest point -- drift farther apart by 0.78 inches (2 cm) each year.

  • Sometimes referred to as the Sacred Sea, the remote lake’s water volume is equivalent to that of all five of North America’s Great Lakes, combined.

  • Scientists estimate that Lake Baikal has been around for at least 25 million years. During the summer, when the lake is full of melted mountain snow, you can see more than 130 feet (39 m) into its depths.

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