A lake is a body of water that is surrounded by land.
There are millions of lakes in the world.
Lakes vary greatly in size. Some measure only a few square meters and are often referred to as ponds while others are so big that they are called seas.
The majority of lakes on Earth are fresh water, and most lie in the Northern Hemisphere at higher latitudes.
Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources gives an official count of 2,747,997 lakes in Russia. 98% of these lakes, the ministry says, are less than 1 square kilometer (0.38 miles), and less than 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) deep.
Canada has an estimated 31,752 lakes larger than 3 square kilometers (1.2 sq mi) and an unknown total number of lakes, but is estimated to be at least 2 million.
Finland has 187,888 official lakes that each have an area of over 500 square meters (5,380 square feet). Approximately 56,000 of these lakes have an area of over 10,000 square meters (107,640 square feet). Finland has one of the highest densities of lakes and is often referred to as the land of the thousand lakes.
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed inland body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world’s largest lake or a full-fledged sea. It sprawls for 1,030 kilometers (640 miles) from north to south, although its average width is only 320 kilometers (200 miles). The sea has a surface area of 371,000 square kilometers (143,200 square miles).
Lake Superior is the largest of North America’s Great Lakes. It is generally considered the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. The surface area of Lake Superior is 82,170 square kilometers (31,700 square miles). That is 10% of all the earth’s fresh surface water.
Lake Baikal located in southern Siberia is is the largest freshwater lake by volume in the world, containing 22–23% of the world’s fresh surface water. With 23,615.39 cubic kilometers (5,670 cu mi) of fresh water, it contains more water than the North American Great Lakes combined.
Lake Baikal is also the deepest lake in the world. It is 1,642 meters (5,387 ft) at its deepest point. It is considered among the world’s clearest lakes and is considered the world’s oldest lake — at 25 million years.
The Dead Sea, also known as the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. It is the world’s lowest lake at 418 meters (1,371 ft) below sea level. Although its name implies otherwise, the Dead Sea isn’t actually a sea at all. It’s really a lake. In fact, it’s a hypersaline lake, which means it’s a landlocked body of water with a high concentration of sodium chloride and other mineral salts.
Lake Titicaca located on the border of Bolivia and Peru at an altitude of 3,812 meters (12,507 feet), is the highest commercially navigable body of water in the world. By volume of water and by surface area, it is the largest lake in South America.
The world’s highest lake, if size is not a criterion, may be the crater lake of Ojos del Salado, at 6,390 meters (20,965 ft) above sea level. It is small lake about 100 meters (330 feet) in diameter. (on the left down corner of the photo, half frozen).
Lake Vostok is the largest of Antarctica’s almost 400 known subglacial lakes. Lake Vostok is about the same size as Lake Ontario, and even has an island in the middle of it. On top of the lake is an icecap 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) thick. The ice actually insulates the water, preventing it from freezing.
A crater lake is a lake that forms in a volcanic crater or caldera. Lakes located in dormant or extinct volcanoes tend to have fresh water, and the water clarity in such lakes can be exceptional due to the lack of inflowing streams and sediment. [Photo: Crater Lake in the western United States, located in south-central Oregon]
Meteorite lakes also known as crater lakes, are lakes created by catastrophic extraterrestrial impacts by either meteorites or asteroids. Examples of meteorite lakes are Lonar crater lake, India, Lake Elgygytgyn, and Pingualuit crater lake [photo below], Quebec, Canada.
Located in in the northern reaches of New Zealand‘s Southern Alps, Blue Lake — also known as Rotomairewhenua — holds the title of the world’s clearest lake. Scientific tests carried out in 2011 by New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) showed Blue Lake to be the clearest natural body of fresh water known to man. According to the NIWA research results, visibility in the lake is up to 80 meters (262 ft) – meaning the water is considered almost as “optically clear” as distilled water.
Lake Hillier is a pink-coloured lake on Middle Island in Western Australia. The reason of its pink color is still a topic that is not fully understood by scientists, although most suspect it has to do with the presence of the Dunaliella salina microalgae. But the presence of red halophilic bacteria in the salt crusts could be another explanation.
Jellyfish Lake is a marine lake located on Eil Malk island in Palau. The lake that was cut off from the ocean became the perfect setting for a jellyfish explosion. Feeding on quick-growing algae and with no predators to keep them in check, the jellyfish now completely pack the small lake. Millions of golden jellyfish migrate horizontally across the lake daily. Visitors can swim with the jellyfish, because they are harmless.
The Plitvice Lakes are a series of 16 lakes connected by waterfalls. The lakes are located inside Plitvice National Park, the largest national park in Croatia. The lakes are renowned for their distinctive colors, ranging from azure to green, grey or blue. The colors change constantly depending on the quantity of minerals or organisms in the water and the angle of sunlight.
Many lakes, especially those in the Northern Hemisphere, were formed by glaciers that covered large areas of land during the most recent ice age, about 18,000 years ago.
Once formed, lakes do not stay the same. Like people, they go through different life stages—youth, maturity, old age, and death. All lakes, even the largest, slowly disappear as their basins fill with sediment and plant material. The natural aging of a lake happens very slowly, over the course of hundreds and even thousands of years. But with human influence, it can take only decades.
Water in most lakes flows in and out through rivers and streams. Lakes that only lose water by evaporation, where water goes back into the atmosphere or underground seepage are called endorheic lakes.
There are no official or scientific differences between lakes and ponds. Lakes are larger than ponds, but size is relative. What would be considered a pond in one region might be considered a lake in another.
The U.S. state of Minnesota is nicknamed “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” because of the number of glacial lakes.
Hitler had a crazy plan for Moscow: to kill all its residents and replace it with a lake.