Freshwater lakes hold the majority of the world’s drinkable water. Although freshwater appears to be insignificant in comparison to saltwater, there is still a lot of it on the planet. We’ll look at the 10 largest freshwater lakes in the world to help you better grasp the importance of freshwater in the world. These are the largest non-brackish or saline bodies of water.
Lakes that contain freshwater that are neither brackish nor saline are known as freshwater lakes. While we’re on the subject, we have to wonder, what exactly is a lake? A lake is a large body of water with the following characteristics:
- Lakes are deeper than ponds, typically reaching a depth of at least 20 feet.
- Lakes are oval in shape, whereas ponds are round.
- Freshwater lakes are the most common, but they can also be brackish or saline. Ponds are entirely made up of freshwater.
- Lakes have an open outlet that allows them to draw water from other bodies of water.
- Lakes are usually greater than 0.3 square miles in size.
Lakes are distinguished from ponds in that they are larger, have an open exit, and a specific depth.
Here are the top 10 lakes of the world:
Caspian Sea (371,000 km2)
The Caspian Sea, despite its deceptive name, is actually a lake because it is fully landlocked — in fact, it is the world’s biggest lake or body of water. This inland sea is surrounded by Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan, and is located between the continents of Europe and Asia.
The lake isn’t entirely fresh; it’s partially salty, though only a third as salty as seawater, because it was formerly part of the old Paratethys Sea. Today, the sea is known for its delicious caviar and thriving oil sector.
Lake Superior (82,100 km2)
Lake Superior is the world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area, the third-largest by volume, and the largest, deepest, and coldest of the Great Lakes of North America. It is also Canada’s largest lake, bordering Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan in the United States.
The Great Lakes Waterway passes across Lake Superior, which means “Big Sea Water,” and ferries commodities and supplies over the water. It is, nevertheless, one of the most dangerous lakes to swim in on the planet, as it can reach depths of more than 400 metres in some areas and is prone to riptides.
Lake Victoria (68,870 km2)
Lake Victoria, one of Africa’s Great Lakes, is the continent’s largest freshwater lake, spanning Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. It’s also the world’s largest tropical lake and the second-largest freshwater lake in terms of surface area, trailing only Lake Superior.
Lake Victoria, the Nile River’s major reservoir, is home to over 200 different species of fish, including Tilapia, which provide a source of income for thousands of people who live along and around its shores.
Lake Huron (59,600 km2)
Lake Huron is the world’s fourth biggest lake, connected to Lake Michigan by the Mackinac Straits. It is also the second-largest by surface area and third-largest by volume among North America’s five Great Lakes.
The shoreline, which stretches over 3,800 miles and includes over 30,000 islands, is the longest of all the Great Lakes.
The many shipwrecks in Lake Michigan are well-known. Thousands of battered ships have sunk off the coasts of the United States; Fathom Five National Marine Park alone has 22 wreck sites.
Lake Michigan (58,000 km2)
Lake Michigan is one of North America’s five Great Lakes, and its name means “Great Water.” It’s the second-largest in terms of volume and third-largest in terms of surface area. It is the only Great Lake that is entirely within the United States’ boundaries, stretching from east to west through Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. It reaches a maximum depth of 280 meters.
For a variety of reasons, swimming in Lake Wisconsin is dangerous. Its beachfront is not only vulnerable to deadly rip currents, but the bottom is also uneven, with holes and deep drop-offs, and there are few lifeguards on the beach.
Lake Tanganyika (32,600 km2)
Lake Tanganyika, another of Africa’s Big Lakes, is the world’s longest, second-oldest, and second-deepest freshwater lake, with a name that means “great lake spreading out like a plain.” It is also the second-largest lake in terms of surface area.
Lake Tanganyika flows across Tanzania, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia, eventually emptying into the Atlantic Ocean. Swimming in the lake, which is one of the Rift Valley’s lakes, is not suggested because Nile crocodiles are known to lurk beneath the surface in some areas.
Lake Baikal (31,500 km2)
When it comes to volume, Russia’s Lake Baikal is the world’s largest. With a depth of 1,632 meters, it is the world’s deepest and oldest lake, with some suggesting that it should be classified as a sea.
This is supported by the fact that it is one of the few lakes in the world with enough oxygenated water to support life at its deepest depths. Around 1,700 plant and animal species can be found in the lake.
Lake Baikal in Russia is the world’s largest in terms of volume. It is the world’s deepest and oldest lake, with a depth of 1,632 metres, prompting some to argue that it should be regarded as a sea.
The fact that it is one of the few lakes in the world with enough oxygenated water to support life at its greatest depths bolsters this claim. The lake is home to over 1,700 plant and animal species.
Great Bear Lake (31,000 km2)
The Great Bear Lake is the world’s eighth biggest lake, located in Canada’s Northwest Territories near the Arctic Circle. It is also the fourth largest freshwater lake in North America and the largest freshwater lake wholly within Canada’s boundaries.
The lake, which reaches a depth of over 440 metres at its deepest point and is surrounded by boreal forest and tundra, is noted for its crystal-clear water. While the lake is home to speckled trout and other marine life, it has the smallest number of fish species of all the Great Lakes in Canada.
Lake Malawi (29,500 km2)
Lake Malawi, also known as Lake Nyasa, is Africa’s third largest lake, stretching across Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique along Africa’s East Coast. Lake Malawi, one of Africa’s Great Lakes, has a long and illustrious history.
It is the world’s fourth largest lake by volume, the ninth largest by area, and Africa’s second deepest lake. Lake Malawi is unique not only because of its vastness, but also because of the life it supports.
Lake Malawi has more fish species than any other lake on the planet, including hundreds of cichlids. While fishing is permitted in some areas, marine reserves have been established in others to safeguard these creatures.
Great Slave Lake (27,000 km2)
Lake Malawi, also known as Lake Nyasa, is Africa’s third largest lake, running along Africa’s East Coast via Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique. One of Africa’s Great Lakes, Lake Malawi, has a long and rich history.
It is the fourth largest lake in the world in terms of volume, ninth largest in terms of area, and Africa’s second deepest lake. Lake Malawi is remarkable not only for its size, but also for the diversity of life it sustains.
More fish species exist in Lake Malawi than in any other lake in the earth, including hundreds of cichlids. While fishing is allowed in some locations, marine reserves have been set up in others to protect these animals.