There is nothing wrong with being afraid of deep water even if you’re the best swimmer in the world, but when you add some fantasy to the story and consider the legends and mysteries that lie underneath the murky depths, fear can eat you alive.
As with any lake, depths fluctuate with climate and in particular rainfall. Notwithstanding this, today we’ll explore the top ten deepest lakes in the world and the stories and legends behind them.
Lake Matana is famous for its extremely clear waters and the many endemic fish species which have arisen from a single ancestor diversified over time.
There is currently no physical evidence to suggest that an unidentified large creature is living in the Great Slave Lake, but many people traveling to the lake have said otherwise. Some talk about a large hump in the water, usually mistaken for a rock until it submerges, or an alligator-like body, with a head like that of a pike.
From his house, a Roman Catholic priest even saw a large dragon-headed creature that rose six to eight feet above the water and moved rapidly on the shores of the lake. The creature was subsequently named Ol’Slavey.
7. Issyk Kul Lake
According to the legend, during pre-Islamic times, the king of the Ossounes had donkey’s ears. He managed to hide them however, by killing all his barbers to make sure the secret wouldn’t leak out, yet one day, one of the barbers escaped and yelled the secret into a well and left it uncovered, which caused water to
rise and flood the kingdom.
6. Lake Malawi
Also known as Lake Nyasa, Lake Malawi is the most southern lake in the East African Rift valley system, located between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. At 2,316 feet deep, it’s the second deepest lake in Africa and thanks to the tropical waters it has more fish species than any other lake on Earth.
Researchers have studied sediments from core samples of Lake Malawi, which revealed that 100,000 years ago, water levels dropped to about 2,000 feet, turning the land around the lake into semi-desert and arid scrubland habitat. According to some, this may be why early man fled from Africa to colonize other parts of the world.
5. O’Higgins/San Martín Lake
Located in Patagonia, between the Aysén Region and the Santa Cruz Province, the lake is called O’Higgins in Chile and San Martin in Argentina. It is the deepest lake in the Americas with a maximum depth of 2,742 feet (measured near the O’Higgins Glacier). The lake is very irregular consisting of eight well-defined arms with milky light-blue water coming from the suspended rock flour.
The lake is named after South American heroes José de San Martín of Argentina and Bernardo O’Higgins of Chile, who fought together for the liberation of Chile.
4. Lake Vostok
The average water temperature is -3 °C and the reason why it is still liquid below freezing is the high pressure from the weight of the ice above it.
Scientists also discovered that the ice core may be 420,000 years old, meaning that the lake could have been sealed for over 500,000 years and the water beneath could be doubly as old.
Between the southern areas of the Russian Federation and northern Iran, lies the largest enclosed body of water on Earth. It’s an endorheic lake with salty water (salinity of approximately 1.2%) that was landlocked due to continental drift 5.5 million years ago. An ancient remnant of the Tethys Ocean, (just like the Black Sea or the Mediterranean Sea) it is the third deepest lake in the world going down to 3,363 feet.
Fauna in the Caspian basin is very rich: great numbers of sturgeon (that’s where you get the great caviar), the Caspian seal and some fish endemic to the Caspian Sea like the Kkturn (Caspian white fish), Caspian roach, Caspian bream and an array of rare species of salmon only to be found in that area.
The Caspian Sea is very rich in energy resources like oil and gas deposits, which have been tapped since the 10th century. These days, the oil in the Caspian basin is supposed to be worth $12 trillion.
2. Tanganyika Lake
Zambia, Tanganyika is the deepest fresh water lake in Africa and the second in the world with a maximum depth of 4,823 feet. The lake was “mistakenly” discovered in 1858 by two British explorers, Richard Burton and John Speke, in their quest to find the Nile’s source.
If you know of any other deep lakes worth exploring, please drop us a line in the comments.
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