10 Largest Lakes of World

Large water bodies completely surrounded by land mass are called Lakes. Some lakes are smaller in size while some are enormous enough to be called as Sea. Caspian Sea which is the largest lake of world is the example of such a lake which is bigger enough to be called as Sea. A common question arises why Caspian sea is considered as lake but Black sea is not counted as lake ? The explanation lies in the fact that Caspian is totally covered with land mass and is not connected or open to any other sea. Black sea on other hand is connected to sea of Marmara by Bosporus Strait which in turn is connected to Mediterranean Sea by Dardanelles Strait. Hence Black sea is not totally isolated water body and doesn’t qualifies the definition of lake. Following list represents largest lakes of world.

1. Largest Lakes of World : Caspian Sea10 Largest lakes of World

  • Area – 371,000 Sq Km
  • In-flowing rivers – Volga, Ural, Kura and Terek
  • Out-flowing rivers – None
  • Type – Saline

Caspian sea is the world’s largest lake. It is spawned in area of 371,000 Sq Km and has maximum depth of 1025 m. Caspian is also called as largest landlocked sea.It is located between Asia and Europe. It forms the coastline of 5 countries. It is surrounded by Kazakhstan in north-east, Russia in north-west, Azerbaijan in west, Iran in south and Turkmenistan in south-east.

2. Second Largest Lakes of World : Superior Lake

10 Largest Lakes of World

North American Map showing Lake Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario

  • Area – 82,414 Sq Km
  • In-flowing rivers – Nipigon, St. Louis, Pigeon, Pic, White, Michipicoten
  • Out-flowing rivers – St Marys river
  • Type – Fresh Water

Superior lake is the largest fresh water lake of world by surface area and third largest fresh water lake in world by volume. It is the biggest fresh water lake of North America. It is spawned in area of 82,414 Sq Km and has maximum depth of about 406 m. This lake forms the shoreline of two countries Canada and United Sates.

3. Third Largest Lakes of World : Victoria Lake

10 Largest lakes of World

Lake Victoria, Tanganyika, Malawi in Africa Map

  • Area – 69,485 Sq Km
  • In-flowing rivers – Kagera river
  • Out-flowing rivers – White Nile
  • Type – Fresh water lake

Victoria lake is the largest lake of Africa continent by surface area and third largest in world. Lake Victoria is the second largest freshwater lake in world just after Superior lake of North America. It is comparatively shallow lake  having maximum depth of 84 m. This lake is the chief source of World’s largest river – Nile. Three Countries namely Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania form the shoreline of this lake.

4. Fourth Largest Lakes of World : Lake Huron

  • Area – 59,600 Sq Km
  • In-flowing rivers – St Marys river, Straits of Mackinac
  • Out-flowing rivers – St Clair river
  • Type – Glacial

Huron lake has maximum depth of 229 mt. It is basically a glacial type lake which means that the source of water is the melting glaciers. Huron lake is the third largest fresh water lake of world and overall fourth largest lake. Canada and United States forms its shoreline. Some of the important cities near the lake are – Bay city, Alpena, Rogers city, Goderich etc.

5. Fifth Largest Lakes of World : Michigan Lake

  • Area – 58,000 Sq Km
  • In-flowing rivers – Platte river, Fox Wolf, The Grand, Chicago river
  • Out-flowing rivers –
  • Type – Fresh water

Maximum depth of this lake is 281 m. Michigan lake is the largest lake completely located inside United States. Michigan lake is joined with Lake Huron in east by strait of Mackinac. So technically both these lakes are one entity. If surface area is taken to account, Michigan lake is the largest lake of world which is located completely inside one country. If volume is concerned then Baikal lake will be the first to completely lie in a country (Russia).

6. Tanganyika Lake

  • Area – 32,893 Sq Km
  • In-flowing rivers – Ruzizi river, Malagarasi river, Kalambo river
  • Out-flowing rivers – Lukuga river
  • Type – Fresh Water lake

The shoreline of Tanganyika lake is shared by four countries – Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zambia. It has maximum depth of 1470 m. Tanganyika is the second largest lake of world if volume is concerned. If the length of lake is taken to account then it is the longest freshwater lake of world.

7. Baikal Lake

  • Area – 31,500 Sq Km
  • In-flowing rivers – Selenge, Barguzin, Upper Angara
  • Out-flowing rivers – Angara
  • Type – Fresh water, Continental rift lake

Lake Baikal is the deepest lake of world with maximum depth of 1637 m. By Volume Baikal lake is the largest freshwater lake of world. This lake lies completely inside only one country – Russia. Baikal lake is the largest lake by volume to completely lie inside one country ie Russia. It contains more water than all five great lakes of America taken together.  It is also the clearest and oldest lake of world.

8. Great Bear Lake

  • Area – 31,080 Sq Km
  • In-flowing rivers –
  • Out-flowing rivers – Great bear river
  • Type – Fresh water lake

Great Bear Lake is the largest lake that is completely located inside Canada. Its maximum depth is 446 m. During winter months the surface of the lake is covered with ice.

10. Malawi Lake

  • Area – 30,044 Sq Km
  • In-flowing rivers – Ruhuhu river
  • Out-flowing rivers – Shire river
  • Type – Fresh water Rift Lake

This lake is located in African continent and has maximum depth of 706 m. Malawi is also known as Nyasa or Niassa in local language. The shoreline of Malawi Lake is shared by three countries – Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. It is the second deepest lake of Africa just after Tanganyika (1470 m) as Victoria lake is comparatively shallower. This lake is known for its great varieties of fishes.

 11. Aral Sea

  • Original Area – 68,000 Sq Km, Area in 2004 – 17,160 Sq Km, Present Area – Unknown
  • In-flowing rivers – Syr Darya river
  • Out-flowing rivers – None
  • Type – Saline

The location of Aral sea is in central Asia and is surrounded by Kazakhstan in north and Uzbekistan in south. The local meaning of Aral is islands which points to the fact that there are more than 1000 islands in this lake. Its original area before 1960 was 68,000 Sq Km and it was considered fourth largest lake at that time. The aral sea has since then slowly shrinking because the inflowing rivers to Aral sea have been diverted to irrigation projects by Russia. The present area of the Aral sea has now considerably reduced and doesn’t stands in comparison with other major lakes of world.

 List of largest Lakes of World

LakeArea (Sq Km)Max Depth (m)Volume (Km Cube)TypeCountry
Caspian Sea371000102578200SalineKazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Iran
Superior8241140612100FreshwaterCanda, United States
Victoria69485842750FreshwaterUganda, Kenya, Tanzania
Huron596002293540FreshwaterCanda, United States
Michigan580002814900FreshwaterUnied States
Tanganyika32893147018900FreshwaterBurundi, D R Congo, Tanzania, Zambia
Baikal31500163723600FreshwaterRussia
Great Bear310804462236FreshwaterCanada
Malawi300447068400FreshwaterMalawai, Mozambique, Tanzania
Great Slave289306141560FreshwaterCanada
Erie2571964489FreshwaterCanada, United States
Winnipeg2355336283FreshwaterCanada
Ontario194772441639FreshwaterCanada, United States
Ladoga18130230908FreshwaterRussia
Balkhash1640026106SalineKazakhstan