There are a few different ways to define the world’s largest lake. Are we interested in the lake with the largest surface area? Or, the lake with the greatest water volume? And, should we consider the salt water seas in our comparison?
“Which lake is the World’s largest?” is not a simple question to answer. So, we will explore all of these questions and you will then have all of the many possible answers.
Map of the Caspian Sea – World’s Largest Land-Locked Water Body – by volume – Image by CIA
World’s Largest Lake (by volume):
The salty Caspian Sea is the world’s largest land-locked body of water. It contains approximately 18,900 cubic miles of water (78,700 cubic kilometers).
Lake Baikal is the world’s largest freshwater lake in terms of volume. It contains about 5521 cubic miles of water (23,000 cubic kilometers), or approximately 20% of Earth’s fresh surface water. This is a volume of water approximately equivalent to all five of the North American Great Lakes combined.
Map of Lake Baikal – World’s Largest Freshwater Lakeby volume- Image by CIA
World’s Largest Lake (by surface area):
The salty Caspian Sea has the greatest surface area of any lake at 143,200 square miles (370,886 square kilometers). Lake Superior, on the United States/Canada border is the freshwater lake with the greatest surface area at 31,700 square miles (82,103 square kilometers).
Map of Lake Superior l – World’s Largest Freshwater Lake – by surface area – Image by CIA
Largest Lake in the United States:
The largest lake in the United States is Lake Superior, one of the Great Lakes, located on the United States / Canada border. It is largest in both surface area 31,700 square miles (82,103 square kilometers) and in volume of water 2904 cubic miles (12,100 cubic kilometers).