There are certainly some awesome lakes around the world! But how did they come about and what other interesting things can we learn about them? Read on to find out.
What is a lake?
A lake is an inland body of water, that doesn’t really move all that much. They usually have a river or stream that drains out of them or feeds into them.
- They are different to lagoons, but how? Lagoons actually connect to the ocean, where lakes don’t.
- Most lakes have freshwater, but there are some that have saltwater.
- Each lake has a large catchment area, which is like a drainage basin. It is a large area of land where the surface water from rain or snow, ice melting, or rivers join into the lower-lying lake.
Water in most lakes flows in and out through rivers and streams. Lakes that only lose water by evaporation, where the water goes back into the atmosphere or underground seepage are called endorheic lakes. Seepage is where water escapes very slowly through small holes.
- Most freshwater lakes on Earth are found in Northern areas of the Northern Hemisphere. Canada has got about 2 million lakes. That’s a lot of lakes to see!
- Most lakes only last a few thousand years and then disappear as if by magic. This is because the water that flows into the lake has sediment in it as well. This sediment keeps filling the lake slowly making it shallower and shallower.
How do lakes form?
Lakes contain about 90% of all the surface water on Earth, not including oceans. Lakes form when water finds its way into a basin. In order to survive, they need to have a constant flow of new water, otherwise, they’ll eventually dry up.
So how do lakes form? There are loads of natural ways that lakes can from. They can be formed by glaciers that move forward or move away. They can be formed over millions of years and will leave behind bowl-shaped hollow areas that fill up.
They can form by tectonic related changes of the landscape, which is about how the crust of the earth moves. They can also be caused by landslides that cause water blockages.
Crater lakes and calderas are formed in volcanic craters. Oxbow lakes are small, crescent-shaped lakes that are made by the meandering or the winding flow of rivers over time.
A lot of lakes today are artificially made to create hydro-electric power, which is made from the falling force of water. They make this water for us to use at home, for farmers or even for big factories.
One of the lakes on Saturn’s moon Titan, called Kraken Mare, is a massive 388,500km² which makes it larger than the Caspian Sea. But do you think it’s got water inside it? No it doesn’t, it is actually a lake of liquid gas. That would be awesome to see. This is because the average temperature up there is -181°C. Ouch, that’s cold! Imagine seeing a liquid gas lake? That would be weird.
Want to learn a new word? Well it’s Limnology and this is the study of inland water bodies and ecosystems. Go on practice saying it and watch your teacher’s face as she sees how smart you are!
The lowest lake in the world is the Dead Sea that is on the edge of Israel and Jordan. The surface level is 418m below sea level. It is also one of the saltiest lakes in the world.
The highest lake in the world is the crater lake of Ojos del Salado at 6,390m above sea level. The mountain lake sits on the border of Chile and Argentina.
- The deepest lake in the world is Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia. It is 1,637m at its deepest point.
- The longest lake in the world is Lake Tanganyika in Africa at 660km and it is also the second deepest. That would be a challenge for swimming this lake.
- Located on the border of the USA and Canada are the Great Lakes of North America. They include 5 lakes which together contain around 21% of the world’s fresh water supply. That’s unbelievable!
- Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes and also has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in the world at 82,000km². Talk about large…wow!
- Finland has the nickname ‘Land of the Thousand Lakes’ as there are over 187,000 lakes in the country.
Now you know everything about lakes. Hope you can use this information to be the superstar in your class!