Many people wonder what could be the largest lake in the world. You’ll be surprised to find that there are two lakes that vie for the title. And it will also depend on the criteria you’ll be using to determine who the winner is. In order to answer this question correctly we should first define what is a lake and what is not. Take note that the names of bodies of water may sometimes be a bit confusing for the average individual.
Defining the Word Lake
To the common folk, a lake is basically just any body of water that you will find surrounded by land. Many people have the idea that lakes are basically just called lakes. It is a bit of an eye opener to hear about seas that are also classified as lakes. The truth is that a lake can either contain fresh water or salt water for it to be considered as a lake.
The word ‘lake’ actually derives from the Latin word lacus. Going a bit technically, a lake is a physical feature or a feature of any given terrain. It is specifically a body of liquid that you can find on the surface of any landmass that has been localized from its top surface to its basin. It should also be of considerable size, which means a puddle or any small accumulation of water on a land surface cannot be termed as a lake.
So What is the Largest Lake in the World?
Depending on your criteria and your definition you can consider two candidates as the largest lake in the world. The first one is the Caspian Sea and the second one is Lake Superior. As stated earlier, even though we call the Caspian Sea as a ‘sea’ since it is surrounded by land though being a saltwater lake it is still classified as a lake.
Lake Superior can be said to be the world’s second largest lake, that is, in terms of water volume and not considering whether its freshwater or saltwater. However, if you consider the surface area and the fact that it contains freshwater then you can say that Lake Superior is the largest lake in the world.
The Caspian Sea
Depending on how you look at it, you can say that the Caspian Sea is the largest lake in the world by volume or it is one of the smallest seas on earth. It can be classified both as a sea and as a lake. It is also the world’s largest saltwater lake. To be a bit more specific, in terms of area, it is the world’s largest body of water enclosed by land.
To the north of the Caspian Sea you’ll find Iran. You’ll find Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to its west while it is encompassed on its eastern border by Azerbaijan. Finally, you have Russia closing its southern border.
Lake Superior is the largest lake in the world in terms of surface area among the freshwater lakes in the world. The Caspian Sea is still the largest lake in terms of surface area alone. Lake Superior is a freshwater lake and is located in North America. It is bounded by Canada and the United States. If you consider the lakes in the world only terms of volume then this lake would rank as number three in the world.