The five largest lakes in Europe are all located in Russia except for Lake Vänern which is found in Sweden. The lakes are Lake Ladoga, Lake Onega, Kuybyshev Reservoir, and Rybinsk. Most lakes are found in the northern and western parts of Europe where there are countries like Russia, Sweden and Scandinavia. Many of the lakes occur naturally, but some are man-made. Among the lakes are also freshwater lakes, salty lakes, and brackish lakes.
The Largest Lakes in Europe
The largest lake in Europe is Lake Ladoga which is 17,700 km2. It is also the 14th largest freshwater lake in the world by area. Lake Ladoga is located in the outskirts of St. Petersburg; between the republic of Karelia and Leningrad Oblast in Russia. It has 660 islands which cover an area of 435 km2. Lake Ladoga is a freshwater lake which is 83 km wide, 51 m deep, 837 km3 in volume, and 5 m above sea level. It drains into the Gulf of Finland through the Neva River which acts as its outlet. Furthermore, it is popular for over 48 species of fish that are found in it. These fish include zander, the Ladoga seal, roach, and the endangered European sturgeon among others.
The second largest lake in the European continent is Lake Onega with a surface area of 9,894 km2. It is also referred to as Lake Onego and is found in between the regions of Leningrad Oblast, Vologda Oblast, and Karelia. The lake is fed by 50 rivers and has an outlet called Svir River. Furthermore, Lake Onega possesses 1,650 islands including Kizhi Island which is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site called Kizhi Pogost. Lake Onega is of glacial-tectonic origin. It is 90 km wide, 245 km long, and 280 km3 in volume. Some of the species of fish found in the lake include brown trout, whitefish, European Crisco, spined loach, and sturgeon.
Though third largest by size, Kuybyshev is a reservoir and not considered the third largest lake in Europe. Instead, the third largest lake in Europe is the Lake Vänern which is found in Sweden. It is located around the provinces of Daisland, Värmland, and Västergötland. The lake is 5,655 km2 big, 27 m deep, and 44 m above sea level. It is believed to have been formed 10,000 years ago as a result of the Quaternary glaciation. Lake Vänern is fed by Klarälven, Byälven and Norsälven tributaries with Klarälven being the main tributary. Some of the fish species found in the lake are Vänern salmon, trouts, zander, and whitefish.
The economic importance of the lakes
Lakes Ladoga, Onega, and Vänern have had a great economic impact to their countries. All of the lakes are navigable so they provide water to transport for cargo and people alike. Furthermore, the fishing industry has really boomed in those regions where the lakes are located. In spite of this, the success of fishing is threatened by water cultivation, pollution, and the M74 syndrome. The M74 syndrome mainly affects Lake Vänern. Besides fishing, the coast of Lake Onega also flourishes with mining of minerals such as black schist, granite, and marble.