The Earth is covered by three-fourths water and only one-fourth land. Hence it is no wonder that we have so many water bodies on the earth’s surface. They are large, small, fresh, salty and many other kinds. Lakes have certain features that are unique to them.
Fact 1 What are lakes?
There are millions of lakes on the earth’s surface that stand at high altitudes in mountainous regions. They are inland bodies of standing water. The freely available water sources are the lakes. Lakes are formed in various ways and all are not natural lakes. There are some man-made lakes too that are constructed to enhance beauty of landscapes or for swimming, boating and other recreations.
Fact 2 How Lakes are formed
Most of the lakes that we see and adore on the earth’s surface are all natural lakes and formed differently.
- Glaciers – Glacier activity has created many lakes. Canada, the northernmost country in the United States was formed by earth’s glacial ice that extended further. As the thick heavy ice blocks pushed along, they created crevices and holes and carved into bedrocks. Later when the ice began to melt, the glaciers retreated and the crevices as well as basins were filled with water that formed into lakes.
- Movements of the earth’s crust, wind and water also form lakes. Due to the movement of the earth’s crust, often basins are formed. These hollow areas or depressions fill with water to form lakes.
- Rivers sometimes change their courses and when they flow at great speed, small or big crevices are formed and water remains in them even if the river no longer flows that way.
- Volcanic and meteorite activities too are responsible for creating lakes on the surface of the earth.
All lakes are not of the same size or same nature. Some lakes are seasonal and are filled with water often in the rainy seasons while some dry up due to summer heat. Yet there are some that have water the year-round and sometimes freeze to form a lake of ice in winter months. A new lake has suddenly appeared near Tunisia in 2014. The exact reason is not known but may be it was a result of a sudden release of groundwater or pooling of rainwater. However, in Mongolia 100 lakes disappeared during the drought and great demand of irrigation water during the 2000s. It has been found that most of the lakes are in Canada, Alaska, Russia, Finland and Sweden.
The highest lake in the world is the crater of Ojos Del Salado on the border of Chile and Amsterdam.
The lowest lake is the Dead Sea on the borders of Israel and Jordan.
The deepest lake in the world is Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia. It is 1,637m at the deepest point. After the Caspian Sea it is the largest lake by volume also.
The world’s longest lake is Lake Tanganyika in Africa which is 660km and is also the second largest in volume and the second deepest lakes in the world.
The Caspian Sea is both a sea and a lake. This salt water sea was connected to the world’s oceans many years ago but was locked by land on all sides and is therefore according to the definition of lake, is the biggest lake in the world being 370,400km square.
The Great Lakes of North America are located on the borders of Canada and United Sates. The 5 lakes included in the Great Lakes are Michigan, Erie, Huron, Ontario and Superior.
Finland is often referred to as the Land of the Thousand Lakes as there are more than 187,000 lakes in the country.