Lake | Definition, Types, Examples, & Facts

A lake is a large body of water surrounded by land and is not part of the ocean. Compared to flowing rivers, lakes are relatively calm bodies of water. They contain salt or fresh water and are larger than ponds.

Below are descriptions of some of the larger and more important lakes in the world:

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Caspian Sea

The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest lake by area. It is so large that it is sometimes classified as a small ocean, or the only unconnected ocean in the world. There are five countries on the Caspian Sea coast: Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. More than 130 rivers flow into the Caspian Sea, the largest being the Volga.

The Great Lakes

The Great Lakes are located on the border of Canada and the United States in North America. This includes his five lakes: Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and Lake Superior. Together they form the largest freshwater lake on Earth. Twenty-one percent of the world’s fresh surface water is stored in the Great Lakes.

Lake Ontario’s surface is considerably lower than the other Great Lakes. Elevation changes occur primarily at Niagara Falls, where the water level drops from 569 feet on Lake Erie to 243 feet on Lake Ontario.

Many large cities sprang up along the shores of the Great Lakes, including Chicago (the largest), Toronto, and Detroit.

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world at 5314 feet deep. It is located in the south of Russia. It is also the largest lake in the world by volume, and he is also the second longest lake in the world.

Lake Tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika is the world’s longest lake at 610 miles long. He is also the second deepest in depth and the second largest in volume. Located in Africa, Lake Tanganyika has coasts in four countries including Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi.

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca is located in the Andes Mountains between Peru and Bolivia at an altitude of 12,500 feet. It is the largest lake in South America and the highest navigable lake in the world.

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake. The first European to discover the lake was British explorer John Speke, who named it after Queen Victoria. Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda share Lake Victoria.

Interesting Facts about Lakes

The Dead Sea in Israel is the lowest lake in the world at 4,371 feet above sea level.

The highest lake in the world is Ojos del Salado with an elevation of 20,965 feet. It is located in a crater in the Andes on the border of Chile and Argentina.

The largest lake in Europe is Lake Ladoga in Russia.

A subglacial lake is a lake that is permanently covered by ice. The largest of these is Lake Vostak in Antarctica.

Lakes can form in interesting different ways such as in the craters of volcanoes, by sinkholes in the ground, or even artificially by dams made by man.

There are over 187,000 lakes in Finland giving the country the nickname The Land of the Thousand Lakes.

Top 10 Lakes by Area (surface size in square miles)

Lake Country Area (Square Miles)
Caspian Sea Kazakhstan, Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan 143,000
Michigan-Huron Canada, United States 45,445
Superior Canada, United States 31,820
Victoria Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya 26,828
Tanganyika Burundi, Zambia, Tanzania Democratic Republic of the Congo 12,700
Baikal Russia 12,200
Great Bear Lake Canada 12,200
Malawi Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique 11,600
Great Slave Lake Canada 11,170
Erie Canada, United States 9,930

Top 10 Lakes by Depth:

Lake Country Depth (Feet)
Baikal Russia 5,369
Tanganyika Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Zambia 4,823
Caspian Sea Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan 3,363
Vostok Antarctica >2,950
O’Higgins-San Martín Chile, Argentina 2,742
Malawi Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi 2,316
Issyk Kul Kyrgyzstan 2,192
Great Slave Lake Canada 2,015
Crater Lake United States 1,949
Matano Indonesia 1,936