Obviously listed for protection on UNESCO’s listing of World Heritage Sites, Lake Baikal is the oldest lake in the world at 25 million years. It is the deepest lake in the world at 5,378 feet, and most expansive, occupying over 12,000 square miles of the Earth’s surface. Lake Baikal contains twenty percent of the unfrozen freshwater on the planet.
The climatic asymmetry accounts for the unique variety of plants and other flora. The western basin has light coniferous forests and mountain steppes while in the eastern basin, pine forests predominate. Mountains completely surround the lake. The advancing and retreating of glaciers did not scour the bottom of this high altitude lake, as in the case of other high altitude lakes during the ice age.
Lake Baikal supports 1,700 plants and animals, two-thirds of which can be found no where else in the world. Thus, it is one of the most bio-diverse lakes on the planet.