List of lakes by volume
This article lists lakes with a water volume of more than 100 km³, ranked by volume. The volume of a lake is a difficult quantity to measure. Generally, the volume must be inferred from bathymetric data by integration. Lake volumes can also change dramatically over time and during the year, especially for salt lakes in arid climates. For these reasons, and because of changing research, information on lake volumes can vary considerably from source to source. The base data for this article are from The Water Encyclopedia (1990). Where volume data from more recent surveys or other authoritative sources has been used, it is referenced in each entry.
The largest lakes by volume vary little by season. This list does not include reservoirs; if it did, six reservoirs would appear on the lists: Lake Kariba at 26th, Bratsk Reservoir, Lake Volta, Lake Nasser, Manicouagan Reservoir and Lake Guri.
- Oceanic lakes
Two bodies of water commonly considered lakes are hydrologically ocean (Maracaibo) or geologically ocean (the Caspian Sea).
|Name||Country||Region||Surface area||Water volume|
|Caspian Sea||Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran||371,000 km2 (143,000 sq mi)||78,200 km3 (18,800 cu mi)|
|Maracaibo||Venezuela||13,210 km2 (5,100 sq mi)||280 km3 (67 cu mi)|
- Continental lakes
The following are geological as well as geographic lakes.
|Name||Country||Region||Surface area||Water volume|
|Baikal||Russia||Siberia||31,722 km2 (12,248 sq mi)||23,600 km3 (5,700 cu mi)|
|Tanganyika||Tanzania, DR Congo, Burundi, Zambia||32,900 km2 (12,700 sq mi)||18,900 km3 (4,500 cu mi)|
|Superior||United States, Canada||Michigan, Minnesota, Ontario, Wisconsin||82,100 km2 (31,700 sq mi)||11,600 km3 (2,800 cu mi)|
|Michigan–Huron[n 1]||United States, Canada||117,400 km2 (45,300 sq mi)||8,443 km3 (2,026 cu mi)|
|Malawi||Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania||29,600 km2 (11,400 sq mi)||7,725 km3 (1,853 cu mi)|
|Vostok||Antarctica||15,690 km2 (6,060 sq mi)||5,400±1,600 km³ (~1,300 cu mi)|
|Michigan[n 1]||United States||Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana.||58,000 km2 (22,000 sq mi)||4,920 km3 (1,180 cu mi)|
|Huron[n 1]||United States, Canada||Michigan, Ontario||59,600 km2 (23,000 sq mi)||3,540 km3 (850 cu mi)|
|Victoria||Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya||68,800 km2 (26,600 sq mi)||2,700 km3 (650 cu mi)|
|Great Bear Lake||Canada||Northwest Territories||31,153 km2 (12,028 sq mi)||2,236 km3 (536 cu mi)|
|Issyk-Kul||Kyrgyzstan||6,236 km2 (2,408 sq mi)||1,730 km3 (420 cu mi)|
|Ontario||Canada, United States||New York, Ontario||18,960 km2 (7,320 sq mi)||1,710 km3 (410 cu mi)|
|Great Slave Lake||Canada||Northwest Territories||27,200 km2 (10,500 sq mi)||1,580 km3 (380 cu mi)|
|Ladoga||Russia||17,700 km2 (6,800 sq mi)||908 km3 (218 cu mi)|
|Titicaca||Bolivia, Peru||8,372 km2 (3,232 sq mi)||893 km3 (214 cu mi)|
|Van||Turkey||Southeast Anatolia||3,755 km2 (1,450 sq mi)||607 km3 (146 cu mi)|
|Kivu||Rwanda, DR Congo||2,700 km2 (1,000 sq mi)||569 km3 (137 cu mi)|
|Erie||United States, Canada||Michigan, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, New York||25,667 km2 (9,910 sq mi)||480 km3 (120 cu mi)|
|Khövsgöl||Mongolia||2,760 km2 (1,070 sq mi)||480 km3 (120 cu mi)|
|Onega||Russia||9,700 km2 (3,700 sq mi)||295 km3 (71 cu mi)|
|Winnipeg||Canada||Manitoba||24,514 km2 (9,465 sq mi)||284 km3 (68 cu mi)|
|Nipigon||Canada||Ontario||4,848 km2 (1,872 sq mi)||248 km3 (59 cu mi)|
|Toba||Indonesia||Sumatra||1,130 km2 (440 sq mi)||240 km3 (58 cu mi)|
|Argentino||Argentina||1,466 km2 (566 sq mi)||219.9 km3 (52.8 cu mi)|
|Turkana||Kenya||6,405 km2 (2,473 sq mi)||204 km3 (49 cu mi)|
|Vänern||Sweden||5,650 km2 (2,180 sq mi)||153 km3 (37 cu mi)|
|Tahoe||United States||California, Nevada||496 km2 (192 sq mi)||151 km3 (36 cu mi)|
|Dead Sea||Jordan, Israel||810 km2 (310 sq mi)||147 km3 (35 cu mi)|
|Albert||Uganda, DR Congo||5,300 km2 (2,000 sq mi)||132 km3 (32 cu mi)|
|Iliamna||United States||Alaska||2,622 km2 (1,012 sq mi)||115 km3 (28 cu mi)|
|Nettilling||Canada||Nunavut (Baffin Island)||5,066 km2 (1,956 sq mi)||114 km3 (27 cu mi)|
|Balkhash||Kazakhstan||16,400 km2 (6,300 sq mi)||112 km3 (27 cu mi)|
|Athabasca||Canada||Alberta, Saskatchewan||7,850 km2 (3,030 sq mi)||110 km3 (26 cu mi)|
|Nicaragua||Nicaragua||8,264 km2 (3,191 sq mi)||108 km3 (26 cu mi)|
In 1960, the Aral Sea was the world's twelfth largest known lake by volume, at 1,100 km3 (260 cu mi). However, by 2007 it had shrunk to 10% its original volume, divided into three lakes, none large enough to appear on this list.
- Africa: Lake Tanganyika
- Antarctica: Lake Vostok
- Asia: Lake Baikal (Caspian Sea)
- Oceania: Lake Te Anau
- Europe: Lake Ladoga
- North America: Lake Superior
- South America: Lake Titicaca
Notes and references
- van der Leeden; Troise; Todd (1990), The Water Encyclopedia (2nd ed.), Chelsea, MI: Lewis Publishers, p. 198–200
- The Caspian Sea is generally regarded by geographers, biologists and limnologists as a huge inland salt lake. It is endorheic (having no outlet), and can be compared to other large (but still much smaller) endorheic salt lakes, such as the Aral Sea, Great Salt Lake and Lake Van. However, the Caspian's large size means that for some purposes it is better modeled as a sea. Geologically, the Caspian, Black, and Mediterranean seas are remnants of the ancient Tethys Ocean. Politically, the distinction between a sea and a lake may affect how the Caspian is treated by international law.
- Lake Maracaibo is generally regarded as a lake, but is seen by geologists as an inlet of the Caribbean Sea. It lies approximately at sea level, is somewhat salty and is connected to the Caribbean via a channel at its northern end.
- Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and the largest freshwater lake by volume.
- Which Lake is the World's Largest?
- "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.
- "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
- "Great Lakes Map". Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- "Largest Lake in the World". geology.com. Retrieved 28 September 2012.
- Hebert, Paul (2007), "Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories", Encyclopedia of Earth, Washington, DC: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment, retrieved 2007-12-07
- Degens, E.T.; Wong, H.K.; Kempe, S.; Kurtman, F. (June 1984), "A geological study of Lake Van, eastern Turkey", International Journal of Earth Sciences, Springer, 73 (2): 701–734, doi:10.1007/BF01824978
- "Lake Nipigon". World Lake Database. International Lake Environment Committee Foundation (ILEC). Retrieved 22 December 2014.
- Although some parts of Indonesia are often regarded as belonging to Oceania, Sumatra and Lake Toba are generally placed in Asia.
- Philip Micklin; Nikolay V. Aladin (March 2008). "Reclaiming the Aral Sea". Scientific American. Retrieved 2008-05-17.