Lakes

A lake is a body of water that is surrounded by land.  They usually are part of a river or a stream that drains into them.

All lakes have a place where they can catch drainage and it is called the lower lying lake.  In this area, it is the place where the rivers and melting ice go to.

Lake Sevan

In the lakes, water will flow in and out of the streams and rivers from the lake and lakes do not lose water unless the water evaporates.

Is a Lake a Lagoon?

A lake is not a lagoon because a lagoon is connected to an ocean and a lake is not.

What Kind of Water Does a Lake Have?

Most lakes around the world are freshwater lakes but some of them do have saltwater.

Oeschinen Lake in the Swiss Alps

Seepage

When there is water that goes underground, the lake is called an endorheic lake.  This is a place where water can get out of the lake, but it happens very slowly.

Do Lakes Disappear?

Many lakes will just naturally disappear.  Some lakes will last thousands of years and then disappear.  This happens because as the water flows in and out of the lake, it takes debris and sediment with it.  When the sediment keeps moving in and the water evaporates, it continues to fill the lake with sediment and debris until the lake disappears completely.

Peyto Lake, Alberta, Canada

How Are Lakes Formed?

Lakes happen because of water that is found on the surface of the Earth.  The surface water actually even makes up around 90% of all lakes.  When water is on the Earth, it has to find somewhere to go.  As the water flows into an area, the constant flow will cause the land beneath to form a hole.  The hole gets bigger as more and more water goes into the lakes.

Glacial Lakes

Another way that lakes can form is by glaciers.  When large glaciers are in one spot, they form a hollow area that is bowl shaped.  This area will then fill up when the glacier moves.

Plate Tectonics

Plate tectonics can also cause lakes to form.  When plates hit into each other or they overlap each other, they can shape the crust of the Earth into the shape of a lake.

Oxbow Lakes

Volcanic activity or craters can also cause lakes to form.  A lake that is small and shaped like a crescent is called an Oxbow lake.

Manmade Lakes

Some lakes are manmade lakes because people need to have water sources when they have hydro-electric power.  This water source is good for farmers and factories.

Subglacial Lakes

A subglacial lake is formed when ice covers a lake and never melts.  One of these is Lake Vostok and this lake is found in Antarctica.

Salt Lake

A Salt Lake is a lake that has a lot of salt in it.  Some of these include:

  • The Caspian Sea
  • Aral Sea
  • Dead Sea
  • Great Salt Lake

Caspian Sea

The Caspian Sea is the largest lake and it is found in different areas such as:

  • Russia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Azerbaijan
  • Iran

More than 100 rivers flow into the Caspian Sea.

The Great Lakes

Located in North America and in Canada are the Great Lakes.  There are five lakes and they are easy to remember with the word HOMES.  This includes:

  • Huron
  • Ontario
  • Michigan
  • Erie
  • Superior

There is more than 20% of the surface of the world that is made up of the Great Lakes.

In the Lake Ontario is the famous Niagara Falls.  The falls are here because the area of Lake Ontario is lower than the other Great Lakes.  The water from the falls drops more than 500 feet down and flows into Lake Erie.

Lake Victoria

One of the largest lakes are found in Africa.  The lake was named after Queen Victoria and it shares the lake with three different countries including:

  • Tanzania
  • Kenya
  • Uganda

Lake Titicaca

The largest lake that is in South America is called Lake Titicaca.  This lake is in the Andes Mountains.

Lake Tanganyika

This lake is the longest lake in the whole world and is over 400 miles long.  This lake is located in Africa, but it also shares its coast with four other countries including:

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Tanzania
  • Zambia
  • Burundi

Largest Lakes by Continent

There are lakes that are found all around the world.  Here is a list of the largest lakes by continent:

  • Africa-Lake Victoria
  • Antarctica-Lake Vostok
  • Asia-Lake Baikal
  • Australia-Lake Eyre
  • Europe-Lake Ladoga
  • North America-Lake Superior
  • South America-Lake Maracaibo

Limnology

When a scientist studies different lakes and other inlands of water, it is called the study of limnology or a limnologist.

Freshwater Biome

A lake is considered a freshwater biome because it is an area that has water and the temperature can change over time.  Lakes will get cooler the lower down you go and will be warmer towards the tops.

Four Lake Zones

The lake is divided into four different zones:  Littoral zone, limnetic zone, euphotic zone and benthic zone.

  • Littoral zone-This zone is the area that is close to the shore.  In this area, the plants will grow.
  • Limnetic zone-The limnetic zone is where the water is open and far away from the shore.
  • Euphotic zone-This is the area that is deeper in the lake but where the plants can still get enough sunlight in order to complete photosynthesis.
  • Benthic zone-The benthic zone is where the floor of the lake is.

Animals of Lakes

There are some different types of animals that are found in the lakes such as:

  • Frogs
  • Plankton
  • Crayfish
  • Insects
  • Fish
  • Turtles
  • Worms
  • Snails

Plants of the Lakes

There are also a variety of plants that live in our close to the coast of the lake.  Some of these include:

  • Water lilies
  • Bladderwort
  • Duckweed
  • Cattail
  • Stonewort

More Facts About Lakes:

  • There are lakes that are found on Saturn’s moon.  One of them is called Kraken Mare and is on the moon Titan.  This lake is larger than the Caspian Sea.
  • The liquid in the Kraken Mare is not water but is a liquid gas.
  • The lowest lake in all of the world is called the Dead Sea.  This lake is also the saltiest lake in the world.
  • The highest lake in all of the world is called the Ojos del Salado.  It is located in Chili.
  • The deepest lake is Lake Baikal in Russia.
  • The longest lake is Lake Tanganyika.  It is found in Africa.
  • The Land of a Thousand Lakes is Finland.  Finland gets this name because there are over 187,000 lakes that are found there.
  • A lake is larger than a pond.
  • More than 60% of all of the lakes found in the world are located in Canada.

What Did You Learn?

  • What is a lake?
    A lake is an area of water that is surrounded by some kind of land.  Most lakes have rivers or streams that flow into them.  A lake is bigger than a pond.
  • Are lakes found all around the world?
    Lakes are found all around the world in all different states and continents.
  • What are the two types of water found in lakes?
    A lake can be a saltwater lake or a freshwater lake.
  • What is a freshwater biome?
    A freshwater biome is a body of water that has freshwater.
  • What is the study of inland water called?  The study of inland water is called limnology.