Dymaxion world map with the 15 largest lakes roughly to scale
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 2,000 square kilometres (800 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

Thumbnail,
at fixed scale
Name Countries with shoreline Type Area Length Max.
depth
Volume Notes
1 Caspian Sea[n 1]  Kazakhstan
 Russia
 Turkmenistan
 Azerbaijan
 Iran
Saline 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]
2 Superior  Canada
 United States
82,100 km2
31,700 sq mi[9]
616 km
383 mi[9]
406.3 m
1,333 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]
3 Victoria  Uganda
 Kenya
 Tanzania
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]
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]
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.
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]
7 Baikal  Russia 31,500 km2
12,200 sq mi
636 km
395 mi
1,637 m
5,371 ft
23,600 km3
5,700 cu mi
Deepest lake in the world and largest freshwater lake in the world by volume.[20]
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
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]
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]
11 Erie  Canada
 United States
25,700 km2
9,900 sq mi[9]
388 km
241 mi[9]
64 m
210 ft[9]
489 km3
117 cu mi[9]
12 Winnipeg  Canada 24,514 km2
9,465 sq mi
425 km
264 mi
36 m
118 ft
283 km3
68 cu mi
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]
14 Ladoga  Russia 18,130 km2
7,000 sq mi
219 km
136 mi
230 m
750 ft
908 km3
218 cu mi
Largest lake in Europe.[24]
15 Balkhash  Kazakhstan Saline 16,400 km2
6,300 sq mi
605 km
376 mi
26 m
85 ft
106 km3
25 cu mi
16 Bangweulu  Zambia 15,100 km2
5,800 sq mi
75 km
47 mi
10 m
33 ft
17 Vostok  Antarctica 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
18 Onega  Russia 9,700 km2
3,700 sq mi
245 km
152 mi
127 m
417 ft
285 km3
68 cu mi
Second-largest lake in Europe.
19 Titicaca  Bolivia
 Peru
8,372 km2
3,232 sq mi
177 km
110 mi
281 m
922 ft
893 km3
214 cu mi
Highest navigable lake in the world and largest lake in South America.
20 Nicaragua  Nicaragua 8,264 km2
3,191 sq mi
177 km
110 mi
26 m
85 ft
108 km3
26 cu mi
21 Athabasca  Canada 7,850 km2
3,030 sq mi
335 km
208 mi
243 m
797 ft
204 km3
49 cu mi
22 Turkana  Ethiopia
 Kenya
Saline 6,405 km2
2,473 sq mi
248 km
154 mi
109 m
358 ft
204 km3
49 cu mi
Largest permanent desert lake and the world's largest alkaline lake.[25]
23 Reindeer Lake  Canada 6,330 km2
2,440 sq mi
245 km
152 mi
337 m
1,106 ft
95.25 km3
22.85 cu mi
24 Issyk-Kul  Kyrgyzstan Saline 6,200 km2
2,400 sq mi
182 km
113 mi
668 m
2,192 ft
1,738 km3
417 cu mi
25 Urmia  Iran Saline 6,001 km2
2,317 sq mi
130 km
81 mi
16 m
52 ft
26 Vänern  Sweden 5,545 km2
2,141 sq mi
140 km
87 mi
106 m
348 ft
153 km3
37 cu mi
Largest lake in the European Union.
27 Winnipegosis  Canada 5,403 km2
2,086 sq mi
245 km
152 mi
18 m
59 ft
28 Albert  Uganda
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
5,299 km2
2,046 sq mi
161 km
100 mi
58 m
190 ft
280 km3
67 cu mi
29 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
30 Nettilling  Canada 5,066 km2
1,956 sq mi
113 km
70 mi
132 m
433 ft
Largest lake on an island, namely Baffin Island.[26]
31 Nipigon 4,843 km2
1,870 sq mi
116 km
72 mi
165 m
541 ft
248 km3
59 cu mi
32 Manitoba 4,706 km2
1,817 sq mi
225 km
140 mi
7 m
23 ft
14.1 km3
3.4 cu mi
33 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.
34 Qinghai Lake  China Saline 4,489 km2
1,733 sq mi (2007)
32.8 m
108 ft
35 Saimaa  Finland ≈ 4,400 km2
1,700 sq mi
82 m
269 ft
36 km3
8.6 cu mi
36 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
37 Khanka  China
 Russia
4,190 km2
1,620 sq mi
90 km
56 mi
10.6 m
35 ft
18.3 km3
4.4 cu mi
38 Sarygamysh  Uzbekistan
 Turkmenistan
3,955 km2
1,527 sq mi
125 km
78 mi
40 m
130 ft
68.56 km3
16.45 cu mi
39 Dubawnt  Canada 3,833 km2
1,480 sq mi
40 Van  Turkey Saline 3,755 km2
1,450 sq mi
119 km
74 mi
451 m
1,480 ft
607 km3
146 cu mi
41 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.
42 Uvs  Mongolia Saline 3,350 km2
1,290 sq mi
84 km
52 mi
22 m
72 ft
43 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
44 Tana  Ethiopia 3,200 km2
1,200 sq mi
84 km
52 mi
15 m
49 ft
45 Amadjuak  Canada 3,115 km2
1,203 sq mi
46 Melville Saline 3,069 km2
1,185 sq mi

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

See also

Notes and references

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

Notes
  1. ^ The area indicated does not include the saltwater lagoon of Garabogazköl, which is technically not a separate lake, but is detached from the Caspian Sea via a narrow ridge of land, and connected via a narrow inlet. If included as its own separate lake, it would rank as the world's 15th largest lake, 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