The Largest Lakes in the World

The Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan.

A lake is a large water body that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland, i.e., not part of the world's oceans. Most lakes are situated in places with ongoing glaciations, rift zones and in mountainous regions. These lakes are drained and fed by numerous streams and rivers. The largest lake on Earth is the Caspian Sea. However, as its name would suggest, the Caspian Sea is sometimes classified as a sea and not a lake. In these cases, Lake Superior would be the largest lake in the world.

Caspian Sea

The Caspian Sea is the biggest lake in the world. It is an endorheic basin situated between Asia and Europe. It is surrounded by Turkmenistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Kazakhstan. It has a volume of about 18,800 cubic miles and occupies an area of approximately 143,200 square miles.

Lake Superior

Lake Superior, together with Ontario, Huron, Erie, and Michigan make up the Great Lakes of North America. Lake Superior has more water than all the others combined. It is the largest freshwater lake on earth which occupies an area of about 31,700 square miles. It is the third biggest freshwater lake by volume. It is shared between Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ontario (Canada).

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is the biggest tropical lake on Earth and Africa’s largest lake. It is ranked among the largest freshwater lakes on the globe and occupies an area of about 26,600 square miles. It is the ninth-largest continental lake with about 660 cubic miles of water. It is surrounded by Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Lake Huron

Lake Huron is the third biggest freshwater lake on the globe with an area of approximately 23,007 square miles of which 13,904 square miles is in Ontario while 9,103 square miles is in Michigan. Even though it has the second biggest surface area of all the Great Lakes, Lake Huron is ranked third by volume right after Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Manitoulin Island, the largest lake island on earth, is situated in Lake Huron.

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan is the only Great Lake that is situated entirely in the United States. It is linked to Lake Huron by the Mackinac Straits. It has the third largest surface area of all the Great Lakes. It has a surface area of about 22,000 square miles and a volume of approximately 1,200 cubic miles. The lake is shared between Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois.

Lake Tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika is the second-oldest freshwater lake on earth. It is the longest freshwater lake which occupies an area of about 12,600 square miles. The lake is shared between Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Burundi. It flows through the Congo River system and drains into the Atlantic Ocean.

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is a Russian Rift Lake that is situated in south Siberia right between the Buryat Republic and the Irkutsk Oblast. It is the biggest freshwater lake by volume with over 5,670 cubic miles of water. It is the deepest lake on earth with a maximum depth of about 5,387 feet. Lake Baikal is considered to be the oldest lake on earth and also ranked among the clearest lakes on earth.

Great Bear Lake

The Great Bear is the eighth largest lake on earth and the fourth-largest North American lake which occupies an area of about 12,000 square miles. It is in the Northern Territories of Canada, and it has a volume of about 536 cubic miles. It has an average depth of nearly 235 feet. The Great Bear Lake’s shoreline is about 1,690 miles long.

Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi is the second deepest and third largest African lake, occupying an area of about 11,400 square miles. It is the southernmost lake in the Rift system of East Africa which is shared between Tanzania, Mozambique, and Malawi. It has more fish species than any other lake, and this includes over 700 cichlids species.

Great Slave Lake

Great Slave Lake is the eighth deepest lake on earth. It occupies an area of about 10,000 square miles. Its main tributaries include the Taltson, Slave, and Hay rivers. The Great Slave Lake together with Athabasca and the Great Bear Lake are the remnants of glacial McConnell Lake.

The Largest Lakes in the World

RankLakeArea (Square Km)
1Caspian Sea371,000
2Lake Superior82,100
3Lake Victoria68,870
4Lake Huron59,600
5Lake Michigan58,000
6Lake Tanganyika32,600
7Lake Baikal31,500
8Great Bear Lake31,000
9Lake Malawi29,500
10Great Slave Lake27,000

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