April 9th, 2011 | Written by Lisa | One Comment

What is your lake IQ? Can you name the World’s 10 Largest Lakes? A lake’s size can be measured by surface area or by water volume. But what exactly defines a lake? A lake is a landlocked body of water, either natural or man-made, that is surrounded completely by land. There is no “official” minimum size. Some believe that lakes must contain only fresh water, but every lake has at least some salinity. This newsletter explores the world’s largest lakes, measured by surface area. All are magnificent world treasures worthy of our vigorous preservation efforts. Follow each lake link for photos!

Caspian Sea Satellite Image
photo © BlatantWorld.com

Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest lake on Earth by both volume and surface area. Size estimates range from 92 million acres to almost 108 million acres (374,000 to 436,000 square kilometers)! Many classify this body of water as an inland sea instead of a lake because of its high salinity and geological history. The Caspian Sea is a terminal lake, meaning that it has no natural outlet. Water levels are determined by inflow from more than 130 rivers, with 80 percent of the water coming from Russia’s Volga River. The Caspian Sea sits atop some of the world’s largest oil and natural gas reserves, and holds about 90% of the world’s prized sturgeon reserves (think caviar). Bordering five countries – Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan – the Caspian Sea offers unforgettable adventures and travel opportunities.

Mackinac Bridge Connecting Lake Michigan & Lake Huron
photo © Billau

Lake Michigan-Huron
Although Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are usually classified as two separate North American Great Lakes, they are actually a single body of water – hydrologically speaking – connected by the five-mile wide Straits of Mackinac. Combined, Lake Michigan-Huron is the world’s largest freshwater lake, measured by its combined surface area of about 29 million acres (117,700 square kilometers), surpassing Lake Superior’s 20.3 million acres. If considered separately, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are the world’s third and fourth largest freshwater lakes, covering about 14.7 million acres and 14.3 million acres, respectively. Sandy beaches, scenic lighthouses, historic Mackinac Island, water sports galore, and incredible sunsets provide the makings of a perfect vacation.

Lake Superior Split Rock Lighthouse
photo © joelmutate

Lake Superior
If Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are considered separate lakes, Lake Superior reigns as the largest freshwater lake on Earth by surface area, covering nearly 20.3 million acres (82,400 square kilometers). Skipping over state and country borders, Lake Superior is the largest, deepest, coldest, least developed, and most pristine of the Great Lakes. The majesty of its waters and its national parks (Isle Royale National Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Grand Portage National Monument) provide year-round vacation opportunities. The indigenous Ojibwe tribes called the lake “Gichigami,” meaning “big water,” immortalized as “Gitche Gumee” in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Song of Hiawatha.” And big water it is, sinking thousands of ships when storms turn a placid Lake Superior into a menacing body of water rivaling the world’s oceans.

Lake Victoria Mobile Solar Payphone
photo © abaporu

Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria garners two superlatives: it is the largest lake on the African continent by surface area and the largest tropical lake in the world, covering more than 17 million acres (69,500 square kilometers). Lake Victoria is one of the seven African Great Lakes, extending into three countries: Kenya (6%), Uganda (45%), and Tanzania (49%). International water travel is not permitted on Lake Victoria, so most visitors reach it by safari – traveling through beautifully scenic national parks with vast wildlife populations – to the lake’s shoreline and islands. Lake Victoria forms the headwaters of the great Nile River, as confirmed by American explorer Henry Morton Stanley in 1871. His meeting with explorer David Livingstone in Tanzania is immortalized in the words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

To read about all 10 of the World’s Largest Lakes, visit our Lakelubbers Newsletter Archive. And don’t forget to sign up for future newsletters, delivered straight to your email inbox!

  • Lakelubbers on Facebook – Every other day, we write about interesting and unusual lakes on our fan page on Facebook: World’s Best Lakes. Please visit it, “Like” it, and invite your family and friends to do the same.

  • One Comment to “April Newsletter: World’s 10 Largest Lakes”

    1. travelerguy says:

      Nice info about lake.Thanks!

    Leave a Reply

    You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>