The top 10 largest freshwater lakes in the World are some of the most stunning natural wonders on our planet. These expansive bodies of water hold millions of gallons of freshwater and are home to a diverse range of aquatic life.
The top 10 largest freshwater lakes in the world include Lake Superior, Lake Victoria, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Baikal, Great Bear Lake, Lake Malawi, Great Slave Lake, and Lake Erie. These freshwater lakes are located in different parts of the world and offer visitors breathtaking views, as well as recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming.
List of Top 10 largest freshwater lakes in the World
▪ Here is the list of the Top 10 largest freshwater lakes in the World
|1||Lake Superior||North America||United States|
|2||Lake Victoria||Africa||Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya|
|3||Lake Huron||North America||United States, Canada|
|4||Lake Michigan||North America||United States|
|6||Great Bear Lake||North America||Canada|
|7||Lake Tanganyika||Africa||Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|8||Lake Malawi||Africa||Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania|
|9||Lake Nicaragua||Central America||Nicaragua|
|10||Lake Erie||North America||United States, Canada|
Lake Superior (North America)
▪ The name “Superior” comes from the French word “supérieur” meaning “above/Upper” or “higher/superior” in English, referring to the lake’s northern location and higher in elevation compared to the other Great Lakes.
▪ Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by area.
▪ The lake covers an area of 82,100 square kilometers (31,700 square miles)
▪ It is the deepest and coldest of the Great Lakes, with a maximum depth of 1,332 feet (406 m).
▪ Lake Superior is located on the border between the United States and Canada.
▪ Most of the lake is located in the US state of Minnesota and the Canadian province of Ontario
▪ The lake is fed by more than 200 rivers and streams.
▪ The lake drains into the St. Marys River, which flows into Lake Huron.
▪ The lake is known for its cold, clear water and harsh coastline, as well as its rich fishing and shipping history.
▪ It is home to a variety of fish including lake trout, whitefish, and herring.
▪ The lake is also known for its shipwrecks, with over 350 recorded shipwrecks in the lake’s history.
Lake Victoria (Africa)
▪ Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes.
▪ With a surface area of approximately 59,947 km2 (23,146 sq mi), it is Africa’s largest lake by area.
▪ It is also the world’s largest tropical lake, and the world’s second-largest freshwater lake by surface area after Lake Superior in North America.
▪ In terms of volume, Lake Victoria is the world’s ninth-largest continental lake, containing about 2,424 km3 (1.965×109 acre⋅ft) of water.
▪ The lake occupies a shallow depression in Africa and has an average depth of 40 m (130 ft) and a maximum depth of 80–84 m (262–276 ft).
▪ The lake’s catchment area covers 169,858 km2 (65,583 sq mi).
▪ It has a shoreline of 7,142 km (4,438 mi) with islands constituting 3.7% of this length.
▪ The lake’s area is divided among three countries: Kenya occupies 6% (4,100 km2 (1,600 sq mi)), Uganda 45% (31,000 km2 (12,000 sq mi)), and Tanzania 49% (33,700 km2 (13,000 sq mi)).
▪ The lake was renamed after Queen Victoria by the explorer John Hanning Speke, the first Briton to document it in 1858 while on an expedition with Richard Francis Burton.
▪ Lake Victoria is home to many species of fish which live nowhere else, especially cichlids.
▪ Invasive fish, such as the Nile perch, have driven many endemic species to extinction.
Lake Huron (North America)
▪ Lake Huron is one of the five Great Lakes of North America.
▪ It is hydrologically linked to Lake Michigan and shares the same surface elevation.
▪ The two lakes are connected by the 5-mile-wide Straits of Mackinac, which is 20-fathom-deep.
▪ Lake Huron is bordered by the Canadian province of Ontario to the north and east, and the U.S. state of Michigan to the south and west.
▪ It was named after the Huron people who lived in the area, by French explorers.
▪ The Huronian glaciation, a period of extensive glaciation, was named after the evidence collected from the Lake Huron region.
▪ The North Channel and Georgian Bay are located in the northern parts of the lake.
▪ Saginaw Bay can be found in the southwest corner of Lake Huron.
▪ The St. Marys River is the main inlet, and the St. Clair River is the main outlet of the lake.
Lake Michigan (North America)
▪ Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America.
▪ It is the second-largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third-largest by surface area.
▪ Its basin is conjoined with that of Lake Huron, giving it the same surface elevation as its easterly counterpart.
▪ Lake Michigan is the only one of the five Great Lakes located fully in the United States.
▪ It is shared, from west to east, by the U.S. states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.
▪ Ports along its shores include Chicago, Gary, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Muskegon.
▪ The lake is flanked by multiple long bays, including Green Bay in the northwest, and Grand Traverse and Little Traverse bays in the northeast.
▪ The word “Michigan” is believed to come from the Ojibwe word ᒥᓯᑲᒥ (michi-gami or mishigami) meaning “great water”.
Lake Baikal (Russia)
▪ Lake Baikal is a rift lake located in southern Siberia, Russia.
▪ It is situated between the federal subjects of Irkutsk Oblast and the Republic of Buryatia.
▪ With 23,615.39 km3 (5,670 cu mi) of water, it is the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume.
▪ It contains 22–23% of the world’s fresh surface water, more than all of the North American Great Lakes combined.
▪ It is also the world’s deepest lake, with a maximum depth of 1,642 metres (5,387 feet; 898 fathoms), and the world’s oldest lake, at 25–30 million years.
▪ At 31,722 km2 (12,248 sq mi), it is the world’s seventh-largest lake by surface area, slightly larger than Belgium.
▪ Lake Baikal is among the world’s clearest lakes.
▪ It is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, many of them endemic to the region.
▪ The lake is also home to Buryat tribes who raise goats, camels, cattle, sheep, and horses on the eastern side of the lake.
▪ The mean temperature in the region varies from a winter minimum of −19 °C (−2 °F) to a summer maximum of 14 °C (57 °F).
▪ The region to the east of Lake Baikal is referred to as Transbaikalia or as the Transbaikal.
▪ The loosely defined region around the lake itself is sometimes known as Baikalia.
▪ UNESCO declared Baikal a World Heritage Site in 1996.
Great Bear Lake (North America)
▪ Great Bear Lake is the eighth-largest lake in the world by area, covering 18,724 sq. Km. (7,236 square miles).
▪ The lake is located in the Northwest Territories of Canada. It is the fourth-largest lake entirely located in Canada.
▪ The lake is known for its remote location and rugged wilderness, offering many opportunities for outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, and camping.
▪ The lake is home to a variety of fish species, including lake trout, arctic grayling, and northern pike.
▪ It is home to the world’s largest lake trout, in 1995, a record-breaking fish weighing 32.8 kg (72.3 lb) was caught by angling, the heaviest worldwide.
▪ The lake is also an important source of freshwater for the surrounding region and has a rich cultural history, with many indigenous people living around the lake and using its resources for centuries.
▪ The lake is also a popular destination for tourism, with activities such as fishing, hunting, and camping available.
▪ The lake is also home to a number of small communities, such as Deline, a Dene First Nations community and the only settlement on the lake.
▪ The lake is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Canadian Heritage River and a Ramsar site.
▪ The lake’s name originated from the Chipewyan language word ‘satudene‘, meaning “grizzly bear water people”.
▪ Grizzly Bear Mountain on the shore of the lake also comes from Chipewyan, meaning, “bear large hill”.
Lake Tanganyika (Africa)
▪ Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake.
▪ It is the second-oldest freshwater lake in the world, the second-largest by volume, and the second-deepest.
▪ It is also the world’s longest freshwater lake.
▪ The lake is shared among Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, and Zambia.
▪ Tanzania (46%) and DRC (40%) possess the majority of the lake.
▪ Lake Tanganyika drains into the Congo River system and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean.
▪ The name “Tanganika” was first used by the Bembe people, who called it “êtanga ‘ya’ni’â” meaning “a big river” in their Bantu language.
▪ Stanley found other names for the lake among different ethnic groups, including the Kimana, Yemba, and Msaga.
▪ An alternate etymological source of the name is found in the Luvale language of Zambia and Angola, where “tanganyika” means “star,” possibly due to the lake’s supernatural or cosmological significance to surrounding tribes.
Lake Malawi (Africa)
▪ Lake Malawi is an African Great Lake located between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania.
▪ It is the fifth largest freshwater lake in the world by volume and the ninth largest by area.
▪ Lake Malawi is home to more species of fish than any other lake in the world, including at least 700 species of cichlids.
▪ The Mozambique portion of the lake was declared a reserve by the Government of Mozambique on June 10, 2011, and a portion in Malawi is included in Lake Malawi National Park.
▪ Lake Malawi is a meromictic lake, meaning its water layers do not mix, and its permanent stratification is maintained by moderately small chemical and thermal gradients.
▪ The lake has shorelines on western Mozambique, eastern Malawi, and southern Tanzania, and its largest inflowing river is the Ruhuhu River.
▪ The lake’s outflow is through the Shire River, which supports hydropower, irrigation, and downstream biodiversity.
▪ However, concerns have been raised over the future climate change impacts of Lake Malawi due to the recent decline in lake levels and the overall drying trend.
▪ Lake Malawi National Park is located at the southern end of the lake, which is about 350 kilometers southeast of Lake Tanganyika, another of the great lakes of the East African Rift.
Lake Nicaragua (Central America)
▪ Lake Nicaragua, also known as Cocibolca, Granada, Lago de Nicaragua, Lago Cocibolca, Mar Dulce, Gran Lago, Gran Lago Dulce, or Lago de Granada, is a freshwater lake in Nicaragua.
▪ The lake is of tectonic origin and has an area of 8,264 km2, making it the largest lake in Central America, the 19th largest in the world by area, and the 10th largest in the Americas (slightly smaller than Lake Titicaca).
▪ The elevation of the lake is 32.7 meters above sea level, and it reaches a depth of 26 meters.
▪ The Tipitapa River intermittently joins Lake Nicaragua to Lake Managua.
▪ The lake historically made the lakeside city of Granada an Atlantic port, but it is geographically closer to the Pacific Ocean. The lake drains to the Caribbean Sea via the San Juan River.
▪ The lake has a history of Caribbean pirates who attacked Granada three times.
▪ Before the construction of the Panama Canal, a stagecoach line owned by Cornelius Vanderbilt’s Accessory Transit Company connected the lake with the Pacific Ocean via the narrow Isthmus of Rivas.
▪ Plans were made to build the Nicaragua Canal along this route to take advantage of the stagecoach line, but the Panama Canal was built instead.
▪ The U.S. secured all rights to a canal along this route in the Bryan–Chamorro Treaty of 1916 to quell competition with the Panama Canal.
This treaty was mutually rescinded by the United States and Nicaragua in 1970.
In 2014, the government of Nicaragua offered a 50-year concession to the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company to build a canal across Nicaragua at a cost of US$40 billion, with construction beginning in December 2014 and completing in 2019.
Protests against the ecological and social effects of the canal, as well as questions about financing, have led to doubts about the project.
Lake Erie (North America)
▪ Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake in North America and the eleventh largest globally.
▪ It is the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes.
▪ Lake Erie has the shortest average water residence time and is 210 feet deep at its deepest point.
▪ The lake is situated on the International Boundary between Canada and the United States.
▪ Its northern shore is the Canadian province of Ontario, and its western, southern, and eastern shores are shared by the U.S. states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.
▪ Cleveland is the largest city on the lake, followed by Buffalo, Erie, and Toledo.
▪ The lake’s primary inlet is the Detroit River, and its main natural outflow is via the Niagara River, which provides hydroelectric power to Canada and the U.S.
▪ Some outflow occurs via the Welland Canal, part of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, which diverts water for ship passages.
▪ Lake Erie’s environmental health has been an ongoing concern due to issues such as overfishing, pollution, algae blooms, and eutrophication.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. What is the deepest lake in the world?
Answer: Lake Baikal
Q2. Where is the largest freshwater lake in the world?
Answer: Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake by volume (23,600 km3), containing 20% of the world’s freshwater.
Q3. Where is the largest freshwater lake in the world located?
Answer: Russia (Lake Baikal)
Q4. What is the 2nd largest freshwater lake in the world?
Answer: Lake Victoria is the second-largest freshwater lake in the world.