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Lakes Facts

A lake comprises water surrounded by land that is not fed by, or drained by, any river or other outlet. Lakes are part of the Earth’s water cycle and are not connected to the ocean.

There are many different types of lakes around the world. The water in lakes is relatively still when compared to rivers. They contain fresh or saltwater and are bigger than ponds.

Lake Facts for Kids

  • The Earth has 117 million lakes, covering 3.7 percent of the surface.
  • 90 million lakes are no bigger than 2 football fields.
  • The Dead Sea is the lowest lake in the world. It is 418m below sea level.
  • Ojos del Salado is the highest lake in the world at 6,390m above sea level on the Chile-Argentina border.
  • Siberian Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world. It is 1,637m deep (5471ft).
  • In Africa, Lake Tanganyika is the longest lake and 2nd largest by volume and deepest, at 660 km (410 mi).
  • The Caspian Sea is both a sea and a lake. Approximately 5.5 million years ago, the saltwater sea became landlocked.
  • Lakes contain mostly freshwater, though some are salty.

Famous Lakes in the World

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

This is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

It has a depth of 1,645 ft (501m), which is the second deepest in the U.S. 

Approximately 72 miles of shoreline surround the lake

There are 274 days of sunshine each year. The average snowfall at lake level is 125 inches. 

It is famous for its beaches and ski resorts. There’s usually a good deal of snow in alpine skiing areas.

The Great Lakes

The Great Lakes make up the largest freshwater system in the world. 

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The five Great Lakes – 

  • Lake Superior
  • Lake Huron 
  • Lake Michigan
  • Lake Erie
  • Lake Ontario

They cover 94,600 square miles and are connected by rivers and lakes, which make them the world’s largest freshwater system

About 34 million people live in the Great Lakes basin.

More than 3,500 plant and animal species live in the Great Lakes basin, with over 170 different fish species.

Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is located largely within the United States but also crosses the Canada and U.S. border into the province of Quebec. 

It has a surface area of 514 square miles. A little over 125 miles long, it is 14 miles at its widest point. It has 587 miles of shoreline.

Nearly one million people visit and use the beaches every year. 

Clearer water and many sandy and shale beaches can be found along the central and northern parts of the Lake.

Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca

One of the world’s largest and highest navigable lakes, Lake Titicaca, is situated in the Andes Mountains between Peru and Bolivia. 

According to legend, it is where the Incas were born and consists of numerous ruins. 

At 12,500 feet (3,810 meters), Lake Titicaca is the highest lake in the world. 

The lake is split between Peru and Bolivia, with 56% on Peruvian soil and 44% on Bolivian soil.

Lake Titicaca is home to 41 islands.

Giant frogs that are only native to Lake Titicaca live in the waters. The interesting thing is they live their entire life underwater.

The Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake is located in the northern part of the United States state of Utah.

Although often described as America’s Dead Sea, millions of wildlife species make it a nature preserve. A wide variety of algae, crabs, and lobsters also live here

There are hiking, sailing, swimming, and diving activities at the lake.

Several islands, a railroad, three parks, and a causeway surround the Great Salt Lake.

What is a lake?

Lakes are typically relatively slow-flowing bodies of open water. Ponds and impoundments fall into this category.  

The term lake does not include artificially made ponds, excavations, containment structures connected to agriculture, wastewater treatment plants, fish ponds, fire suppression systems, or golf courses.

Lakes are really complex bodies of water and natural environments that are continuously changing.

Lake characteristics can be defined as the 

  • Biological
  • Physical
  • Chemical

Biological characteristics  – When you notice the fish, algae, and plants of a lake

Physical characteristics – The size, depth, and temperature of a lake.

Chemical characteristics – Things that you cannot see, such as the dissolved oxygen, nutrients, and metals

Water in lakes is collected from the land surrounding the lake and drained into it and a bigger part of the overall ecosystem. 

The characteristics of this body of water can be significantly affected by any single factor affecting its system.

Lakes provide us with activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, and camping.

Our lifestyle is so tightly linked with lakes that maintaining their health is crucial, in order to continue to enjoy it and for them to continue thriving in an ecosystem that is also healthy.

Almost all lakes contain freshwater. Water is obtained through rainfall, melting ice, streams, and seepage from the ground.

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.

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.

Fun Lake Facts

  • 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 in 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 freshwater 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!