List of lakes by area

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This is a list of terrestrial lakes with a surface area of more than 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi), ranked by area.[1][2][3] This list does not include reservoirs and lagoons; if it did, Garabogazköl in Turkmenistan, Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela, and Lake Volta in Ghana would come in at numbers 15, 17, and 19 respectively.

The area of some lakes can vary considerably over time, either seasonally or from year to year. This is especially true of salt lakes in arid climates.

List of lakes[edit]

Continent color key
AfricaAsiaEuropeNorth AmericaSouth AmericaAntarctica

Oceanic lakes[edit]

The Caspian Sea is often regarded as the world's largest lake, but it contains an oceanic basin (contiguous with the world ocean until 11 million years ago) rather than being entirely over continental crust.[4][5][6][7][8]

 NameCountries with shorelineAreaLengthMaximum depthWater volumeThumbnail (same scale for all lakes) Scale outline.pngNotes
1Caspian Sea* Kazakhstan
 Russia
 Turkmenistan
 Azerbaijan
 Iran
7005371000000000000371,000 km2 (143,000 sq mi)70031199000000000001,199 km (745 mi)70031025000000000001,025 m (3,363 ft)700478200000000000078,200 km3 (18,800 cu mi)Caspian outline.gifVariously considered the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. Geologically, the south Caspian is a small ocean.[7][9]
*Not including Garabogazköl Aylagy.

Continental lakes[edit]

 NameCountries with shorelineAreaLengthMaximum depthWater volumeThumbnail (same scale for all lakes) Scale outline.pngNotes
2[n 1]Superior Canada
 United States
700482414000000000082,414 km2 (31,820 sq mi)[10]7002616000000000000616 km (383 mi)[10]7002406000000000000406 m (1,332 ft)[10]700412100000000000012,100 km3 (2,900 cu mi)[10]Superior outline.gif[n 1]
3Victoria Uganda
 Kenya
 Tanzania
700469485000000000069,485 km2 (26,828 sq mi)7002322000000000000322 km (200 mi)700184000000000000084 m (276 ft)70032750000000000002,750 km3 (660 cu mi)Victoria outline.gifThe largest lake in Africa
4Huron[n 1] Canada
 United States
700459600000000000059,600 km2 (23,000 sq mi)[10]7002332000000000000332 km (206 mi)[10]7002229000000000000229 m (751 ft)[10]70033540000000000003,540 km3 (850 cu mi)[10]Huron outline.gifContains Manitoulin Island, the world's largest lake island
5Michigan[n 1] United States700458000000000000058,000 km2 (22,000 sq mi)[10]7002494000000000000494 km (307 mi)[10]7002281000000000000281 m (922 ft)[10]70034900000000000004,900 km3 (1,200 cu mi)[10]Michigan outline.gifLargest lake entirely within one country.
6Tanganyika Burundi
 Tanzania
 Zambia
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
700432893000000000032,893 km2 (12,700 sq mi)7002676000000000000676 km (420 mi)70031470000000000001,470 m (4,820 ft)700418900000000000018,900 km3 (4,500 cu mi)Tanganyika outline.gifSecond deepest lake in the world. It is also the longest lake in the world.
7Baikal Russia700431500000000000031,500 km2 (12,200 sq mi)7002636000000000000636 km (395 mi)70031637000000000001,637 m (5,371 ft)700423600000000000023,600 km3 (5,700 cu mi)Baikal outline.gifDeepest lake in the world. Largest volume fresh water lake in the world.
8Great Bear Lake Canada700431080000000000031,080 km2 (12,000 sq mi)7002373000000000000373 km (232 mi)7002446000000000000446 m (1,463 ft)70032236000000000002,236 km3 (536 cu mi)Great bear outline.gifLargest lake entirely within Canada
9Malawi Tanzania
 Mozambique
 Malawi
700430044000000000030,044 km2 (11,600 sq mi)7002579000000000000579 km (360 mi)7002706000000000000706 m (2,316 ft)70038400000000000008,400 km3 (2,000 cu mi)Nyasa outline.gifSecond deepest lake in Africa. It has more fish species than any other lake on Earth
10Great Slave Lake Canada700428930000000000028,930 km2 (11,170 sq mi)7002480000000000000480 km (300 mi)7002614000000000000614 m (2,014 ft)70032090000000000002,090 km3 (500 cu mi)Great slave outline.gifDeepest lake in North America
11Erie Canada
 United States
700425719000000000025,719 km2 (9,930 sq mi)[10]7002388000000000000388 km (241 mi)[10]700164000000000000064 m (210 ft)[10]7002489000000000000489 km3 (117 cu mi)[10]Erie outline.gifLake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes
12Winnipeg Canada700423553000000000023,553 km2 (9,094 sq mi)7002425000000000000425 km (264 mi)700136000000000000036 m (118 ft)7002283000000000000283 km3 (68 cu mi)Winnipeg outline.gifLocated in Manitoba, it is the largest lake within a province.
13Ontario Canada
 United States
700419477000000000019,477 km2 (7,520 sq mi)[10]7002311000000000000311 km (193 mi)[10]7002244000000000000244 m (801 ft)[10]70031639000000000001,639 km3 (393 cu mi)[10]Ontario outline.gif
14Balkhash* Kazakhstan700418428000000000018,428 km2 (7,115 sq mi)7002605000000000000605 km (376 mi)700126000000000000026 m (85 ft)7002106000000000000106 km3 (25 cu mi)Balkhash outline.gifLargest lake in Central Asia
15Ladoga Russia700418130000000000018,130 km2 (7,000 sq mi)7002219000000000000219 km (136 mi)7002230000000000000230 m (750 ft)7002908000000000000908 km3 (218 cu mi)Ladoga outline.gifLargest lake in Europe
16VostokAntarctica700415690000000000015,690 km2 (6,060 sq mi)7002250000000000000250 km (160 mi)7002900000000000000900–1,000 m (3,000–3,300 ft)70035400000000000005,400 ± 1,600 km3 (1,300 ± 380 cu mi)Vostok outline.gifLargest lake in Antarctica; also largest subglacial lake in the world.
17Onega Russia70039891000000000009,891 km2 (3,819 sq mi)7002248000000000000248 km (154 mi)7002120000000000000120 m (390 ft)7002280000000000000280 km3 (67 cu mi)Onega outline.gifSecond largest lake in Europe
18Titicaca Peru
 Bolivia
70038135000000000008,135 km2 (3,141 sq mi)7002177000000000000177 km (110 mi)7002281000000000000281 m (922 ft)7002893000000000000893 km3 (214 cu mi)Titicaca outline.gifLargest lake in South America if Lake Maracaibo is discounted; at 3811 m, one of the highest navigable lakes in the world.
19Nicaragua Nicaragua70038001000000000008,001 km2 (3,089 sq mi)7002177000000000000177 km (110 mi)700126000000000000026 m (85 ft)7002108000000000000108 km3 (26 cu mi)Nicaragua outline.gifLargest lake in Central America
20Athabasca Canada70037920000000000007,920 km2 (3,060 sq mi)7002335000000000000335 km (208 mi)7002243000000000000243 m (797 ft)7002204000000000000204 km3 (49 cu mi)Athabasca outline.gifLargest Lake in Saskatchewan/Alberta
21Taymyr Russia70036990000000000006,990 km2 (2,700 sq mi)7002250000000000000250 km (160 mi)700126000000000000026 m (85 ft)700112800000000000012.8 km3 (3.1 cu mi)Taymyr outline.pngLargest lake north of the Arctic Circle
22Turkana* Ethiopia
 Kenya
70036405000000000006,405 km2 (2,473 sq mi)7002248000000000000248 km (154 mi)7002109000000000000109 m (358 ft)7002204000000000000204 km3 (49 cu mi)Turkana outline.gifIt is the world's largest permanent desert lake and the world's largest alkaline lake.
23Reindeer Lake Canada70036330000000000006,330 km2 (2,440 sq mi)7002245000000000000245 km (152 mi)7002337000000000000337 m (1,106 ft)Reindeer outline.gif
24Issyk-Kul* Kyrgyzstan70036200000000000006,200 km2 (2,400 sq mi)7002182000000000000182 km (113 mi)7002668000000000000668 m (2,192 ft)70031738000000000001,738 km3 (417 cu mi)Issyk-kul outline.gif
25Urmia* Iran70036001000000000006,001 km2 (2,317 sq mi)7002130000000000000130 km (81 mi)700116000000000000016 m (52 ft)Urmia outline.gifLargest lake in the Middle East
26Vänern Sweden70035545000000000005,545 km2 (2,141 sq mi)7002140000000000000140 km (87 mi)7002106000000000000106 m (348 ft)7002153000000000000153 km3 (37 cu mi)Vänern outline.gifThe largest lake in the EU
27Winnipegosis Canada70035403000000000005,403 km2 (2,086 sq mi)7002245000000000000245 km (152 mi)700118000000000000018 m (59 ft)Winnipegosis outline.gif
28Albert Uganda
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
70035299000000000005,299 km2 (2,046 sq mi)7002161000000000000161 km (100 mi)700158000000000000058 m (190 ft)7002280000000000000280 km3 (67 cu mi)Albert outline.gif
29Mweru Zambia
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
70035120000000000005,120 km2 (1,980 sq mi)7002131000000000000131 km (81 mi)700127000000000000027 m (89 ft)700138000000000000038 km3 (9.1 cu mi)Mweru outline.png
30Nettilling Canada70035066000000000005,066 km2 (1,956 sq mi)7002113000000000000113 km (70 mi)7002132000000000000132 m (433 ft)Nettilling outline.gifOn Baffin Island. Largest lake on an island.
31Nipigon Canada70034843000000000004,843 km2 (1,870 sq mi)7002116000000000000116 km (72 mi)7002165000000000000165 m (541 ft)Nipigon outline.gifLargest lake entirely within the Canadian province of Ontario.
32Manitoba Canada70034706000000000004,706 km2 (1,817 sq mi)7002225000000000000225 km (140 mi)70007000000000000007 m (23 ft)Manitoba outline.gif
33Great Salt Lake* United States70034662000000000004,662 km2 (1,800 sq mi)7002121000000000000121 km (75 mi)700110000000000000010 m (33 ft)Great salt outline.gifThe largest lake entirely within a single U.S. state.
34Qinghai Lake* China70034489000000000004,489 km2 (1,733 sq mi) (2007)Qinghai outline.pngLargest lake in East Asia
35Saimaa Finland≈ 4,400 km2 (1,700 sq mi)700182000000000000082 m (269 ft)700136000000000000036 km3 (8.6 cu mi)Saimaa outline.gifNumerous basins; 14,000 islands, shoreline 700413700000000000013,700 km (8,500 mi)
36Lake of the Woods Canada
 United States
4,350 km2 (1,680 sq mi)7002110000000000000110 km (68 mi)700164000000000000064 m (210 ft)Lake of the Woods outline.gif
37Khanka China
 Russia
4,190 km2 (1,620 sq mi)700110600000000000010.6 m (35 ft)Khanka outline.png

* denotes saline lake.

Source for the 20 largest lakes (and their areas):[16]

Largest by continent and region[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

Note: Lake areas may slightly vary depending on the sources.

Notes
  1. ^ a b c d Although Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are usually considered distinct sometimes they are regarded as a single lake known as Lake Michigan–Huron. When treated as a single entity, it is the largest freshwater lake by surface area in the world, at 117,400 km2 (45,300 sq mi).[11][12][13][14][15]
References
  1. ^ Likens, Gene E., ed. (2009). "Historical Estimates of Limnicity". Encyclopedia of inland waters (1st ed.). Amsterdam: Elsevier. ISBN 0120884623.  Table 1: The world's lakes >2000 km2 in area, arranged in decreasing order of lake area. See also Lakes (Formation, Diversity, Distribution)
  2. ^ Marsh, William M.; Martin M. Kaufman. Physical geography : great systems and global environments. Table 16.2: Great lakes of the world by lake type. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 399. ISBN 0521764289. 
  3. ^ van der Leeden, Frits; Troise, Fred L.; Todd, David Keith, eds. (1991). The water encyclopedia (2nd ed.). Chelsea, Mich.: Lewis. pp. 198–200. ISBN 9780873711203. 
  4. ^ "Plume over the Caspian Sea". NASA. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  5. ^ "Caspian Sea". Britannica. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  6. ^ "Endorheic Lakes". United Nations. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  7. ^ a b DuMont, H.J. "The Caspian Lake: History, biota, structure, and function". American Society of Limnology and Oceanography. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  8. ^ Planet Earth And the New Geoscience (2003:154). Victor Schmidt, William Harbert, University of Pittsburgh
  9. ^ Jan Golonka (2000) "Geodynamic Evolution of the South Caspian Basin". In Yilmaz, Isaksen, & AAP, eds., Oil and Gas of the Greater Caspian Area.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/atlas/gl-fact1.html Great Lakes Factsheet No. 1 US Environmental Protection Agency website retrieved September 9, 2012
  11. ^ David Lees in Canadian Geographic writes, "Contrary to popular belief, the largest lake in the world is not Lake Superior but mighty Lake Michigan–Huron, which is a single hydrological unit linked at the Straits of Mackinac." Lees, David. "High and Dry" Canadian Geographic (May/June 2004) pp.94-108.
  12. ^ "Lakes Michigan and Huron are considered to be one lake hydraulically because of their connection through the deep Straits of Mackinac." Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Great Lakes Sensitivity to Climatic Forcing: Hydrological Models." NOAA, 2006.
  13. ^ "Lakes Michigan and Huron are considered to be one lake, as they rise and fall together due to their union at the Straits of Mackinac." U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, "Hydrological Components" Record Low Water Levels Expected on Lake Superior. August 2007. p.6
  14. ^ "Great Lakes Map". Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  15. ^ "Largest Lake in the World". geology.com. Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "Largest Lakes (Area)". LakeNet. Retrieved 3 March 2013. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]