Unique Features of the World's Top Ten Largest Lakes
There are hundreds of lakes in the world. The water they contained could either be fresh or saline. Some lakes are bizarre for they contain asphalt, sulphur and other unusual elements. Not all lakes contain water but some lakes are dry or have dried up hundreds of years ago due to specific geological processes.
Here are the 10 largest lakes in the world and their astounding characteristics.
1.) Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea is very large lake shared by Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran. With an area of 152,239 sq mi, it is the world’s largest lake. It has a length of 745 miles and with a maximum depth of 3,104 ft. The Caspian Sea is called "sea" because the Romans, finding it salty, named it Mare Caspium. Many geographers, however, consider it a lake because it is land locked.
- Caspian Sea has no outflows
- Caspian Seal is endemic to the Caspian Sea
- Over 130 rivers provide inflow to the Caspian
- Ancient Greeks and Persians called it the Hycanian Ocean
- Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water in the world
- The oil in the Caspian basin is estimated to be worth over US $12 trillion
- It accounts for 40 to 44 percent of the total lacustrine waters of the world
- There are several islands is the Caspian Sea, the largest is the 47 km long Ogurja Ada
2.) Lake Huron-Michigan
If lakes Huron and Michigan are combined they will have a total surface area of 45,445 sq mi. making them the 2nd largest lake in the world. If they will be regarded as separate lakes, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan will rank 4th and 5th largest, respectively.
The 4th largest lake in the world is another lake located between the United States and Canada – Lake Huron. With a maximum depth of 750 ft, it has an area of 23,010 sq mi and a length of 247 miles.
- Lake Huron is the second largest of the Great Lakes
- More than a thousand wrecks have been recorded in Lake Huron.
- Saginaw Bay contains 185 of 1000+ wrecks in Lake Huron.
- Georgian Bay contains 212 of the 1000+ wrecks in Lake Huron.
- Manitoulin Island, the world’s largest freshwater island, is located in Lake Huron
Lake Michigan, the 5th largest lake in the world, is located in Michigan, USA. It has a total area of 22,400 sq mi, a length of 321 miles and has a maximum depth of 923 ft.
- Lake Michigan is regarded only as a big bay of Lake Huron
- Lake Michigan is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume
- Lake Michigan is the third largest of the Great lakes by surface area
- Lake Michigan is the largest lake entirely within one country by surface area.
- Lake Michigan is the only one of the Great Lakes wholly within the borders of the United States; the others are shared with Canada
3.) Lake Superior
Lake Superior is located between the United States and Canada. This lake has a total area of 31,820 sq mi, a length of 383 miles and a maximum depth of 1,333 feet. It is the world’s 3rd largest lake.
- It is the world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area
- Over 80 species of fish have been found in Lake Superior.
- Lake Superior is the world’s 3rd largest freshwater lake by volume
- Lake Superior is the largest, deepest and coldest of the Great Lakes.
- Lake Superior’s largest island is Isle Royal which is part of the State of Michigan.
- The southern shore of Lake Superior is known as the “Graveyard of the Great Lakes” because many ships have been wrecked and lost.
4.) Lake Victoria
The world’s 4th largest lake is Lake Victoria, a lake shared by Tanzania and Uganda in Africa. It has an area of 26, 828 sq mi, with a length of 200 miles and a maximum depth of 270 feet. The lake was named after Queen Victoria of Great Britain.
- It is Earth’s second largest freshwater lake
- Lake Victoria is the largest tropical lake in the world
- Lake Victoria supports Africa’s largest inland fishery
- The lake inhabited by more than 400 species of fish, 90% of which were Cichlids
5.) Lake Tanganyika
With a total area of 12,700 sq mi, Lake Tanganyika which is shared by Tanzania and Congo is the world’s 5th largest lake. It has a length of 420 and a maximum depth of 4,708 feet, one of the deepest lakes in the world. It is shared by Burundi, Congo, Tanzania and Zambia.
- Lake Tanganyika is the 2nd largest freshwater lake in the world by volume
- It is the world’s 2nd deepest lake after Lake Baikal.
- Lake Tanganyika is the world’s longest lake.
- It is the largest rift lake in Africa and the second largest lake by surface area
- Lake Tanganyika is the deepest lake in Africa
- It is Africa’s most voluminous freshwater lake.
- Tanganyika holds at least 250 species of cichlid fish and 150 non-cichlid species
- About 33% of the protein in the diet of about one million people living around the lake comes from lake fish.
6.) Lake Baikal
Slightly smaller than Lake Tanganyika, Lake Baikal with an area of 12,162 sq mi is the 6th largest lake in the world. However, with a maximum depth of 5,712 feet, it is the world’s deepest lake. This lake has a total length of 395 miles.
- The lake is fed by 330 inflowing rivers
- Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world.
- Baikal is completely surrounded by mountains.
- It is the largest volume fresh water lake in the world.
- It was declared a UNESCO World heritage Site in 1996.
- This body of water is also known as the "Pearl of Siberia".
- Lake Baikal is among the clearest of all lakes in the world.
- Lake Baikal contains a 20% of the world’s surface fresh water.
- It is the world’s second most voluminous lake, next to Caspian Sea
- Lake Baikal contains 27 islands; the largest is the 72 km long Olkhon.
- Lake Baikal has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in Asia
- Lake Baikal is the largest lake sharing a shoreline with a single country.
- It is estimated to be 25 million years of age, one of the world's oldest lakes.
- Lake Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world
7.) Lake Great Bear
The 7th largest lake in the world with an area of 12,028 sq mi is Lake Great Bear in Canada. This lake has a length of 232 miles and a maximum depth of 1,463 ft.
- It is the third largest in North American continent.
- Great Bear Lake is the largest lake wholly within Canada
- Deline is the only community on the lake located at the southwest end.
- Uranium deposits in the Great Bear Lake region were discovered in 1930.
8.) Lake Malawi
Lake Malawi, more popularly known as Lake Nyasa and is shared by Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania in Africa, is the 8th largest lake in the world. Its area is 11,600 miles, its length is 360 miles and its maximum depth is 2,316 ft.
- It is the second deepest lake in Africa
- Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa
- It is the habitat of more species of fish than any other body of water in the world
9.) Great Slave Lake
Great Slave Lake, with a surface area of 10,502 sq mi, is the 9th largest lake in the world. It is located in Canada and is the second-largest lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada.
- Great Slave Lake is the deepest lake in North America with a maximum depth of 2,014 ft.
10.) Lake Erie
The world’s 10th largest lake is Lake Erie. It is a lake located in the North American continent. It is shared by the US and Canada.
- It is the southernmost of the Great lakes
- Of the 5 Great lakes, it is the fourth largest by surface area
- Lake Erie is also the shallowest and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes
Aral Sea is formerly the 4th largest lake in the world. It is located between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It has a total area of 26,000 sq mi, a length of 266 miles and a maximum depth of 223 ft.
But as of 2004, the Aral Sea’s surface area was only 6,630 sq mi, 25% of its original size, and a nearly fivefold increase in salinity had killed most of its natural flora and fauna. The reason for the steady shrinking of the Aral Sea is due to the diversions of the rivers that fed it for irrigation by Soviet Union in the 1960s. By 2007 it had declined to 10% of its original size, splitting into three lakes. The largest of the 3 lakes is the South Aral Sea with an area of 1,900 sq mi is now rank 31st in the world.