List of lakes by area

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Dymaxion world map with the 15 largest lakes roughly to scale

This is a list of terrestrial lakes with a surface area of more than approximately 3,000 square kilometres (1,200 sq mi), ranked by area.[1][2][3] This list does not include reservoirs or lagoons.

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.

This list excludes seasonal lakes such as Lake Eyre (maximum area 9,500 km2, 3,700 sq mi), Mar Chiquita Lake (Córdoba) (maximum area 6,000 km2, 2,300 sq mi), Lake Torrens (maximum area 5,745 km2, 2,218 sq mi) and Great Salt Lake (maximum area, 1988, 8,500 km2, 3,300 sq mi).

List of lakes[edit]

  •   Africa
  •   Asia
  •   Europe
  •   North America
  •   South America
  •   Antarctica
Thumbnail,
at fixed scaleScale outline.png
Name Countries with shoreline Type Area Length Max.
depth
Volume Notes
Caspian outline.png 1 Caspian Sea[n 1]  Kazakhstan
 Turkmenistan
 Azerbaijan
 Russia
 Iran
Saline 1.2 % 371,000 km2
143,000 sq mi
1,199 km
745 mi
1,025 m
3,363 ft
78,200 km3
18,800 cu mi
Despite its name, it is often regarded as the world's largest lake, though 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]
Superior outline.gif 2 Superior  Canada
 United States
82,100 km2
31,700 sq mi[9]
616 km
383 mi[9]
406 m
1,332 ft[9]
12,100 km3
2,900 cu mi[9]
Largest of the Great Lakes by volume, having more water than the other four combined.[10] The largest freshwater lake in the world by area.[11]
Victoria outline.gif 3 Victoria  Tanzania
 Uganda
 Kenya
68,870 km2
26,590 sq mi
322 km
200 mi
84 m
276 ft
2,750 km3
660 cu mi
The largest lake by area in Africa.[12]
Huron outline.png 4 Huron[n 2]  Canada
 United States
59,600 km2
23,000 sq mi[9]
332 km
206 mi[9]
229 m
751 ft[9]
3,540 km3
850 cu mi[9]
Contains Manitoulin Island, the world's largest lake island.[18]
Michigan outline.gif 5 Michigan[n 2]  United States 58,000 km2
22,000 sq mi[9]
494 km
307 mi[9]
281 m
922 ft[9]
4,900 km3
1,200 cu mi[9]
The largest lake (by area) that is located entirely in one country.
Tanganyika outline.gif 6 Tanganyika 32,600 km2
12,600 sq mi
676 km
420 mi
1,470 m
4,820 ft
18,900 km3
4,500 cu mi
Longest freshwater lake in the world and third largest of any kind by volume.[19]
Baikal outline.png 7 Baikal  Russia 31,500 km2
12,200 sq mi
636 km
395 mi
1,642 m
5,387 ft
23,600 km3
5,700 cu mi
Deepest lake in the world and largest freshwater lake in the world by volume.[20]
Great bear outline.gif 8 Great Bear Lake  Canada 31,000 km2
12,000 sq mi
373 km
232 mi
446 m
1,463 ft
2,236 km3
536 cu mi
Largest lake entirely within Canada,[21] and the largest lake partially within the Arctic Circle
Nyasa outline.gif 9 Malawi  Malawi
 Mozambique
 Tanzania
29,500 km2
11,400 sq mi
579 km
360 mi
706 m
2,316 ft
8,400 km3
2,000 cu mi
Has more species of fish than any other lake in the world.[22]
Great slave outline.gif 10 Great Slave Lake  Canada 27,000 km2
10,000 sq mi
480 km
300 mi
614 m
2,014 ft
1,560 km3
370 cu mi
Deepest lake in North America[23]
Erie outline.gif 11 Erie  Canada
 United States
25,700 km2
9,900 sq mi[9]
388 km
241 mi[9]
64 m
210 ft[9]
488 km3
117 cu mi[9]
Has the smallest volume of the Great Lakes.
Winnipeg outline.gif 12 Winnipeg  Canada 24,514 km2
9,465 sq mi
425 km
264 mi
36 m
118 ft
294 km3
71 cu mi
Very large catchment area compared to own size. No other great lake has that ratio.
Ontario outline.gif 13 Ontario  Canada
 United States
18,960 km2
7,320 sq mi[9]
311 km
193 mi[9]
244 m
801 ft[9]
1,639 km3
393 cu mi[9]
The lowest lying of the Great Lakes.
Ladoga outline.gif 14 Ladoga  Russia 18,130 km2
7,000 sq mi
219 km
136 mi
230 m
750 ft
912 km3
219 cu mi
Largest lake in Europe.[24]
Balkhash outline.png 15 Balkhash  Kazakhstan Saline 0.3 % (variable) 16,400 km2
6,300 sq mi
605 km
376 mi
26 m
85 ft
100 km3
24 cu mi
Fresh shallow western part. Salty deeper eastern part. Shrinking in size.
Vostok outline.gif 16 Vostok  Antarctica subglacial 12,500 km2
4,800 sq mi
250 km
160 mi
900–1,000 m
3,000–3,300 ft
5,400 ± 1,600 km3
1,300 ± 380 cu mi
Largest lake in Antarctica, but subglacial.
Onega outline.gif 17 Onega  Russia 9,700 km2
3,700 sq mi
245 km
152 mi
127 m
417 ft
291 km3
70 cu mi
Second-largest lake in Europe.
Titicaca outline.gif 18 Titicaca  Peru
 Bolivia
8,372 km2
3,232 sq mi
177 km
110 mi
281 m
922 ft
896 km3
215 cu mi
Highest navigable lake in the world. Greatest mountain lake too. Largest lake in South America.
Nicaragua outline.gif 19 Nicaragua  Nicaragua 8,264 km2
3,191 sq mi
177 km
110 mi
26 m
85 ft
110 km3
26 cu mi
Largest lake in Central America. Contains fresh water sharks .
Athabasca outline.png 20 Athabasca  Canada 7,850 km2
3,030 sq mi
335 km
208 mi
124 m
407 ft
204 km3
49 cu mi
A remnant of the vast, Glacial Lake McConnell. Huge catchment area (ratio).
Reindeer outline.gif 21 Reindeer  Canada

6,650 km2
2,570 sq mi

245 km
152 mi

219 m
719 ft

113 km3
27 cu mi

The deepest areas are the site of a large meteorite impact, for almost 100 million years ago. Much older than the lake.
Turkana outline.gif 22 Turkana  Kenya
 Ethiopia
Saline 0.25 % (approx.) 6,405 km2
2,473 sq mi
248 km
154 mi
109 m
358 ft
193 km3
46 cu mi
Largest permanent desert lake and the world's largest alkaline lake.[25]
Issyk-kul outline.gif 23 Issyk-Kul  Kyrgyzstan Saline 0.6 % 6,200 km2
2,400 sq mi
182 km
113 mi
668 m
2,192 ft
1,738 km3
417 cu mi
Second largest mountain lake in the world. Second deepest saline lake as well.
Vänern outline.gif 24 Vänern  Sweden 5,650 km2
2,180 sq mi
140 km
87 mi
106 m
348 ft
153 km3
37 cu mi
Largest lake in the European Union.

Nettilling outline.gif

25 Nettilling  Canada

5,542 km2
2,140 sq mi

113 km
70 mi

132 m
433 ft

130 km3
31 cu mi

Largest lake on an island; Baffin Island.[26]

Winnipegosis outline.gif

26 Winnipegosis  Canada 5,370 km2
2,070 sq mi
245 km
152 mi
12 m
39 ft

17.2 km3
4.1 cu mi

Second largest lake in Manitoba.
Albert outline.png 27 Albert  Uganda
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
5,300 km2
2,000 sq mi
161 km
100 mi
51 m
167 ft
133 km3
32 cu mi
Located in the centre of Africa. The continents seventh largest lake.
Mweru outline.png 28 Mweru  Zambia
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
5,120 km2
1,980 sq mi
131 km
81 mi
27 m
89 ft
38 km3
9.1 cu mi
The second largest lake in the Congo's drainage basin. Tanganyika being the largest.
Nipigon outline.gif 29 Nipigon  Canada 4,843 km2
1,870 sq mi
116 km
72 mi
165 m
541 ft
266 km3
64 cu mi
Largest lake entirely in Ontario. Part of the Great Lake drainage basin. Often referred to as the, "sixth lake".
Manitoba outline.gif 30 Manitoba  Canada Saline 0.35 % 4,706 km2
1,817 sq mi
225 km
140 mi
7 m
23 ft
14.1 km3
3.4 cu mi
A remnant of the prehistoric, Glacial Lake Agassiz together with: Winnipeg and Winnipegosis.
Taymyr outline.png 31 Taymyr  Russia 4,560 km2
1,760 sq mi
250 km
160 mi
26 m
85 ft
12.8 km3
3.1 cu mi
Largest lake entirely within the Arctic Circle.
Qinghai outline.png 32 Qinghai  China Saline 1.4 % (variable) 4,489 km2
1,733 sq mi (2007)
32.8 m
108 ft

108 km3
26 cu mi

Largest lake in China. Variable in size. Endorheic basin.
Saimaa outline.gif 33 Saimaa  Finland ≈ 4,400 km2
1,700 sq mi
82 m
269 ft
36 km3
8.6 cu mi
Largest catchment area of the lakes, within the nordic countries.
Lake of the Woods outline.gif 34 Lake of the Woods  Canada
 United States
4,350 km2
1,680 sq mi
110 km
68 mi
64 m
210 ft
19.4 km3
4.7 cu mi
About 15 000 islands. The shoreline measures (included these) roughly: 105 000 km.
Khanka outline.png 35 Khanka  Russia
 China
4,190 km2
1,620 sq mi
90 km
56 mi
10.6 m
35 ft
18.3 km3
4.4 cu mi
It has a shape like a pear. Variable size. Drains through the Amur River, that ends in the Sea of Japan.
Sarygamysh outline.png 36 Sarygamysh  Turkmenistan
 Uzbekistan
Saline 1.15 % (approx.) 3,955 km2
1,527 sq mi
125 km
78 mi
40 m
130 ft
68.56 km3
16.45 cu mi
It's located about midway between the Caspian Endorheic basin and former Aral Sea. No drainage river today. Drained centuries ago to the Caspian Sea (Uzboy River). Polluted.
Dubawant outline.png 37 Dubawnt  Canada 3,833 km2
1,480 sq mi

91 km3
22 cu mi

Frozen surface 10 months each year. No permanent settlements on its shores.
Van outline.png 38 Van  Turkey Saline 2.3 % 3,755 km2
1,450 sq mi
119 km
74 mi
451 m
1,480 ft
642 km3
154 cu mi
Largest lake in the Middle East. Third deepest saline lake.
39 Peipus  Estonia
 Russia
3,555 km2
1,373 sq mi
15.3 m
50 ft
25 km3
6.0 cu mi
Largest trans-boundary lake in Europe.
40 Uvs  Mongolia

 Russia

Saline 1.9 % (approx.) 3,350 km2
1,290 sq mi
84 km
52 mi
22 m
72 ft

20 km3
4.8 cu mi

Greatest lake in Mongolia (by area). Very large catchment area (endorheic).
North aral outline.png 41 North Aral Sea  Kazakhstan 3,300 km2
1,300 sq mi
42 m
138 ft

28.7 km3
6.9 cu mi

Largest remnant of the former, Aral Sea. Once the world's fourth largest lake.
42 Poyang  China 3,210 km2
1,240 sq mi
170 km
110 mi
25.1 m
82 ft
25.2 km3
6.0 cu mi
Largest freshwater lake in China. Variable size. Important location for the birdlife.
43 Tana  Ethiopia 3,200 km2
1,200 sq mi
84 km
52 mi
15 m
49 ft

25.6 km3
6.1 cu mi

The source of the Blue Nile.
44 Amadjuak  Canada 3,115 km2
1,203 sq mi

74 km3
18 cu mi

In geological terms, a "young" lake (approx. 4 500 years old). Second largest on Baffin Island. Third largest in Nunavut.
45 Melville  Canada Saline 1.95 % (approx. average of surface and bottom water) 3,069 km2
1,185 sq mi

140 km
87 mi

256 m
840 ft

313 km3
75 cu mi

Estuary connected with the Atlantic Ocean. Large drainage basin in the Labrador.
46 Bangweulu  Zambia 3,000 km2
1,200 sq mi (permanent)
75 km
47 mi
10 m
33 ft

12 km3
2.9 cu mi

One of the world's great wetland systems. The area have swamps and floodplain. Variable size on this shallow lake. Crucial importance for animals and birds, of a far larger area.

Source for the 20 largest lakes (and their areas):[27]

See also[edit]

The Aral Sea in 1960

Notes and references[edit]

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

Notes
  1. ^ Geologically a small ocean rather than a lake. The area indicated does not include the saltwater lagoon of Garabogazköl, which is not a separate body of water, but is partially detached from the Caspian Sea by a narrow ridge of land, and connected by a narrow inlet. If it were a separate lake, it would rank as the world's 15th largest, with an area of 18,000 km2
    6,900 sq mi
  2. ^ a b 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 world's largest freshwater lake by surface area, at 117,400 km2 (45,300 sq mi).[13][14][15][16][17]
References
  1. ^ Likens, Gene E., ed. (2009). "Historical Estimates of Limnicity". Encyclopedia of inland waters (1st ed.). Amsterdam: Elsevier. ISBN 978-0120884629. Table 1: The world's lakes >2000 km2 in area, arranged in decreasing order of lake area. See also Lakes (Formation, Diversity, Distribution) Archived 2014-02-22 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Marsh, William M.; Martin M. Kaufman (30 April 2012). 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 978-0521764285.
  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. 16 April 2008. Retrieved 2010-11-29.
  5. ^ "Caspian Sea". Britannica. Retrieved 2010-11-29.
  6. ^ "Endorheic Lakes". United Nations. Retrieved 2010-11-29.
  7. ^ DuMont, H.J. "The Caspian Lake: History, biota, structure, and function" (PDF). 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. ^ 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
  10. ^ "Great Lakes: Basic Information: Physical Facts". United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). May 25, 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-05-29. Retrieved November 9, 2011.
  11. ^ Superior Pursuit: facts about the Greatest Great Lake - Minnesota Sea Grant. University of Minnesota.
  12. ^ "WorldAtlas.com: Lake Victoria". Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "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 Archived 2010-08-08 at the Wayback Machine." NOAA, 2006.
  15. ^ "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 Archived 2008-10-15 at the Wayback Machine. August 2007. p.6
  16. ^ "Great Lakes Map". Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  17. ^ "Largest Lake in the World". geology.com. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
  18. ^ "Manitoulin Island website". Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  19. ^ "Lake Tanganyika at Encyclopædia Britannica". Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  20. ^ "Lake Baikal, World's Largest Freshwater Body". International Business Times. 9 September 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  21. ^ "Plate 18. Large Lakes" (PDF). Natural Resources Canada. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 November 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  22. ^ "Protected Areas Programme". United Nations Environment Programme, World Conservation Monitoring Centre, UNESCO. October 1995. Archived from the original on 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
  23. ^ "WorldAtlas.com: Great Slave Lake". Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  24. ^ "Freshwater Ecoregions of the World: Lake Ladoga". Archived from the original on 16 January 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  25. ^ "Omo Valley in Ethiopia, Lake Turkana". Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  26. ^ "Lakes on Islands". Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  27. ^ "Largest Lakes (Area)". LakeNet. Retrieved 3 March 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]