(Russian Baykal Ozero) Freshwater lake in S Siberia, Russia, the largest in Asia, and the eighth largest in the world (area 31,500 sq km/12,150 sq mi); also the deepest in the world (up to 1,640 m/5,700 ft). Fed by more than 300 rivers, it is drained only by the Lower Angara. It has sturgeon fisheries and is rich in fauna.
The lake has 1,155 species of animals and 1,085 species of plants—more than 1,000 of these are not found anywhere else in the world. The water at the bottom of the lake holds sufficient oxygen to allow animals to live at depths of over 1,600 m/5,200 ft.