5 Largest Lakes in the World

Lakes are bodies of water located completely inland, independent and separated from the divisions of oceans and seas. Lakes can be formed as a result of tectonic, volcanic, or even glacial activities, but intentional and accidental human activities also have created and destroyed many lakes. Looking at natural causes of lake formation, the fact that most of the world’s great lakes are in North America is by no coincidence. This has come to be because, in the distant past, the region was covered in glaciers and, as these glaciers move constantly, their removal of earth and deposition of melting ice water causes lakes to be formed. While there’re a lot of noteworthy lakes on the planet, we have listed the 5 largest lakes in the world. It’s estimated that there are around 2 million lakes across the globe. Some lakes lie in mountainous areas, while others are found at elevations near sea level. Lakes can either be freshwater lakes, or saline lakes.

1. Caspian Sea

The Caspian Sea has characteristics common to both seas and lakes and is listed as the world's largest lake, although it is not a freshwater lake. It is the world's largest enclosed inland water body, with a total surface area of 371,000 km², holding 78,200 cubic km of water by volume which is about 3.5 times more water by volume than all five of the Great Lakes combined. Besides this, it is also the 3rd-deepest lake in the-world. The Deepest part of the lake is 1,025 m, and the lake has a length of 1,199 km at its longest span, with an average depth of 211 m. The Caspian Sea is unique as the only Oceanic Lake on this list, with the rest being considered as Continental Lakes. This is because rather than being entirely over the continental crust, the Caspian Sea has an Oceanic Basin. It also is an “endorheic basin”, referring to it being a closed system with no outflows. The Caspian Sea has Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Russia and Azerbaijan among its basin countries. The Volga, Ural, Terek, and Kura Rivers all serve as major sources of inflow feeding the Caspian Sea.

2. Lake Superior

Lake Superior is considered to be the world’s largest freshwater lake by area, the 3rd largest such body by volume, and the 2nd largest lake of any kind by overall area in the world. It is also the largest amongst all of the North American Great Lakes, with a total surface area of 82,414 square kilometers. At its furthest extent, Lake Superior is about 563 km long, 257 km wide, and attains a maximum depth of 406 m. Via the St. Mary’s River and the Soo Locks, water from Lake Superior flows outward into Lake Huron. Like the other Great Lakes, Lake Superior was formed due to glacial movements.

3. Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria holds the titles of Africa's largest lake, the world’s largest tropical lake, and as the 2nd largest fresh water lake, covering a total surface area of 69,485 square kilometers. Named after Queen Victoria, it is one of the Great African Lakes, and is fed by inflows from the Kagera River. The basin of the lake covers a large area of Africa. This lake is relatively shallow, with an average depth of 40 m and a maximum depth of 84 m. Lake Victoria is bounded by Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, and has 84 islands within its body.

4. Lake Huron

Bounded between Michigan in the US on the west and by Ontario in Canada on the north and east, Lake Huron is another from among North America’s Great Lakes. Huron can boast its prowess as the world’s 4th largest lake, and the 3rd largest fresh water lake, with a surface area covering 59,596 km². The lake is 331 km long and 295 km wide. The deepest point of the lake is 229 m, and its average depth of is 59 m. Like the other Great Lakes, Lake Huron was formed due to the movement of glaciers, and its main sources of inflow are Mackinac Strait and Saint Mary’s River. Another fun fact about Huron is that the lake is the home of Manitoulin Island: the Largest 'Lake Island’ in the world.

5. Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan is among the Great Lakes found in North America but, unlike the others, this lake is situated entirely within the United States. In fact, it’s the largest amongst all of the lakes that are found entirely within one single country. Out of the Great Lakes, it's the 3rd largest by surface area, with a total area of 57,800 Km², and, by volume, it is the 2nd largest with 4,918 cubic km of water. It is 494 km long and 190 km wide, and has over 2,575 km of shoreline. The basin of Lake Michigan is conjoined to the basin of Lake Huron to the east. With an average depth of 85 m, the lake reaches down to 282 m at its deepest point. Like many other lakes in North America, Lake Michigan was formed by glacial movements, and is connected to the ocean by means of manmade waterways and canals, such as the Saint Lawrence and Great Lakes channels which were constructed to meet that purpose.
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