Field Listing

Major lakes (area sq km)

This entry describes one of the two major surface hydrological features of a country: large localized water bodies termed lakes (the other feature is rivers). The entry contains a list of major natural lakes, defined as having an area of 500 sq km or greater. Taken together with major rivers, these features constitute the primary sources of surface freshwater.

  • Afghanistan

    Salt water lake(s): Ab-e Istadah-ye Muqur (endorheic basin) - 520 sq km

  • Albania

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Scutari (shared with Montenegro) - 400 sq km
    note - largest lake in the Balkans

  • Argentina

    Fresh water lake(s): Lago Buenos Aires (shared with Chile) - 2,240 sq km; Lago Argentino - 1,410 sq km; Lago Viedma - 1,090 sq km; Lago San Martin (shared with Chile) - 1,010 sq km; Lago Colhue Huapi - 800 sq km; Lago Fagnano (shared with Chile) - 590 sq km; Lago Nahuel Huapi - 550 sq km

    Salt water lake(s): Laguna Mar Chiquita - 1,850 sq km;

  • Armenia

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Sevan - 1,360 sq km

  • Australia

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Alexandrina - 570 sq km

    Salt water lake(s): Lake Eyre - 9,690 sq km; Lake Torrens (ephemeral) - 5,780 sq km; Lake Gairdner - 4,470 sq km; Lake Mackay (ephemeral) - 3,494 sq km; Lake Frome - 2,410 sq km; Lake Amadeus (ephemeral) - 1,032 sq km

  • Austria

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Constance (shared with Switzerland and Germany) - 540 sq km

  • Azerbaijan

    Salt water lake(s): Caspian Sea (shared with Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan) - 374,000 sq km

  • Bolivia

    Fresh water lake(s): Lago Titicaca (shared with Peru) - 8,030 sq km

    Salt water lake(s): Lago Poopo - 1,340 sq km

  • Brazil

    Fresh water lake(s): Lagoa dos Patos - 10,140 sq km

    Salt water lake(s): Lagoa Mirim (shared with Uruguay) - 2,970 sq km

  • Burundi

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Tanganyika (shared with Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia) - 32,000 sq km

  • Cambodia

    Fresh water lake(s): Tonle Sap - 2,700-16,000 sq km

  • Cameroon

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Chad (endorheic lake shared with Niger, Nigeria, and Chad) - 10,360-25,900 sq km
    note - area varies by season and year to year

  • Canada

    Fresh water lake(s): Huron* - 35,972 sq km; Great Bear Lake - 31,328 sq km; Superior* - 28,754 sq km; Great Slave Lake - 28,568 sq km; Lake Winnipeg - 24,387 sq km; Erie* - 12,776 sq km; Ontario* - 9,790 sq km; Lake Athabasca - 7,935 sq km; Reindeer Lake - 6,650 sq km; Nettilling Lake - 5,542 sq km
    note - Great Lakes* area shown as Canadian waters

  • Chad

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Chad (endorheic lake shared with Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon) - 10,360-25,900 sq km
    note - area varies by season and year to year

  • Chile

    Fresh water lake(s): Lago General Carrera (shared with Argentina) - 2,240 sq km; Lago O'Higgins (shared with Argentina) - 1,010 sq km; Lago Llanquihue - 800 sq km; Lago Fagnano (shared with Argentina) - 590 sq km

  • China

    Fresh water lake(s): Dongting Hu - 3,100 sq km; Poyang Hu - 3,350 sq km; Hongze Hu - 2,700 sq km; Tai Hu - 2,210 sq km; Hulun Nur - 1,590

    Salt water lake(s): Quinghai Hu - 4,460 sq km; Nam Co - 2,500 sq km; Siling Co - 1,860 sq km; Tangra Yumco - 1,400 sq km; Bosten Hu 1,380 sq km

  • Congo, Democratic Republic of the

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Tanganyika (shared with Burundi, Tanzania, and Zambia) - 32,000 sq km; Lake Albert (shared with Uganda) - 5,590 sq km; Lake Mweru (shared with Zambia) - 4,350 sq km; Lac Mai-Ndombe - 2,300 sq km; Lake Kivu (shared with Rwanda) - 2,220 sq km; Lake Edward (shared with Uganda) - 2,150 sq km; Lac Tumba - 500 sq km; Lac Upemba - 530 sq km

  • Cote d'Ivoire

    Salt water lake(s): Lagune Aby - 780 sq km

  • Djibouti

    Salt water lake(s): Abhe Bad/Abhe Bid Hayk (shared with Ethiopia) - 780 sq km

  • Dominican Republic

    Salt water lake(s): Lago de Enriquillo - 500 sq km

  • Egypt

    Salt water lake(s): Lake Manzala - 1,360 sq km
    note - largest of Nile Delta lakes

  • Ethiopia

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Tana - 3,600 sq km; Abaya Hayk - 1,160 sq km; Ch'amo Hayk - 550 sq km

    Salt water lake(s): Lake Turkana (shared with Kenya) - 6,400 sq km; Abhe Bid Hayk/Abhe Bad (shared with Djibouti) - 780 sq km; 

  • Finland

    Fresh water lake(s): Saimaa - 1,760 sq km; Paijanne - 1,090 sq km; Inarijarvi - 1,000 sq km; Oulujarvi - 900 sq km; Pielinen - 850 sq km

  • France

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Geneva (shared with Switzerland) - 580 sq km

  • Germany

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Constance (shared with Switzerland and Austria) - 540 sq km

    Salt water lake(s): Stettiner Haff/Zalew Szczecinski (shared with Poland) - 900 sq km

  • Guatemala

    Fresh water lake(s): Lago de Izabal - 590 sq km

  • Honduras

    Salt water lake(s): Laguna de Caratasca - 1,110 sq km

  • Hungary

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Balaton - 590 sq km

  • India

    Salt water lake(s): Chilika Lake - 1,170 sq km

  • Indonesia

    Fresh water lake(s): Danau Toba - 1,150 sq km
    note - located in the caldera of a super volcano that erupted more than 70,000 years ago; it is the largest volcanic lake in the World

  • Iran

    Salt water lake(s): Caspian Sea (shared with Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan) - 374,000 sq km; Lake Urmia - 5,200 sq km; Lake Namak - 750 sq km

  • Iraq

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Hammar - 1,940 sq km

  • Israel

    Salt water lake(s): Dead Sea (shared with Jordan and West Bank) - 1,020 sq km
    note - endorheic hypersaline lake; 9.6 times saltier than the ocean; lake shore is 431 meters below sea level

  • Japan

    Fresh water lake(s): Biwa-ko 688 sq km

  • Jordan

    Salt water lake(s): Dead Sea (shared with Israel and West Bank) - 1,020 sq km
    note - endorheic hypersaline lake; 9.6 times saltier than the ocean; lake shore is 431 meters below sea level

  • Kazakhstan

    Fresh water lake(s): Ozero Balkhash - 22,000 sq km; Ozero Zaysan - 1,800 sq km

    Salt water lake(s): Caspian Sea (shared with Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Russia) - 374,000 sq km; Aral Sea (north) - 3,300 sq km; Ozero Alakol - 2,650 sq km; Ozero Teniz 1,590 sq km; Ozero Seletytenzi - 780 sq km; Ozero Sasykkol - 740 sq km

  • Kenya

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Victoria (shared with Tanzania and Uganda) - 62,940 sq km

    Salt water lake(s): Lake Turkana (shared with Ethiopia) - 6,400 sq km

  • Kyrgyzstan

    Salt water lake(s): Ozero Issyk-Kul 6,240 sq km
    note - second largest saline lake after the Caspian Sea; second highest mountain lake after Lake Titicaca; it is an endorheic mountain basin; although surrounded by snow capped mountains it never freezes

  • Lithuania

    Salt water lake(s): Curonian Lagoon (shared with Russia) - 1,620 sq km

  • Malawi

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Malawi (shared with Mozambique and Tanzania) - 22,490

    Salt water lake(s): Lake Chilwa - 1,040 sq km

  • Mali

    Fresh water lake(s): Lac Faguibine - 590 sq km
    note - the Niger River is the only source of water for the lake; in recent years the lake is dry

  • Mexico

    Fresh water lake(s): Laguna de Chapala - 1,140 sq km

    Salt water lake(s): Laguna de Terminos - 1,550 sq km

  • Mongolia

    Fresh water lake(s): Hovsgol Nuur - 2,620 sq km; Har Us Nuur - 1,760 sq km; 

    Salt water lake(s): Uvs Nuur - 3,350 sq km; Hyargas Nuur - 1,360 sq km

  • Montenegro

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Scutari (shared with Albania) - 400 sq km
    note - largest lake in the Balkans

  • Mozambique

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Malawi (shared with Malawi and Tanzania) - 22,490

  • New Zealand

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Taupo - 610 sq km

  • Nicaragua

    Fresh water lake(s): Lago de Nicaragua - 8,150 sq km; Lago de Managua - 1,040 sq km

  • Niger

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Chad (endorheic lake shared with Chad, Nigeria, and Cameroon) - 10,360-25,900 sq km
    note - area varies by season and year to year

  • Nigeria

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Chad (endorheic lake shared with Niger, Chad, and Cameroon) - 10,360-25,900 sq km
    note - area varies by season and year to year

  • Panama

    Salt water lake(s): Laguna de Chiriqui - 900 sq km

  • Peru

    Fresh water lake(s): Lago Titicaca (shared with Bolivia) - 8,030 sq km

  • Philippines

    Salt water lake(s): Laguna de Bay - 890 sq km

  • Poland

    Salt water lake(s): Zalew Szczecinski/Stettiner Haff (shared with Germany) - 900 sq km

  • Russia

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Baikal - 31,500 sq km; Lake Ladoga - 18,130 sq km; Lake Onega - 9,720 sq km; Lake Khanka (shared with China) - 5,010 sq km; Lake Peipus - 4,300 sq km; Ozero Vygozero - 1,250 sq km; Ozero Beloye - 1,120 sq km

    Salt water lake(s): Caspian Sea (shared with Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan) - 374,000 sq km; Ozero Malyye Chany - 2,500 sq km; Curonian Lagoon (shared with Lithuania) - 1,620 sq km
    note - the Caspian Sea is the World's largest lake

  • Rwanda

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Kivu (shared with Democratic Republic of Congo) - 2,220 sq km

  • Sweden

    Fresh water lake(s): Vanern - 5,580 sq km; Vattern - 1,910 sq km; Malaren - 1,140 sq km

  • Switzerland

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Constance (shared with Germany and Austria) - 540 sq km; Lake Geneva (shared with France) - 580 sq km

  • Tanzania

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Victoria (shared with Uganda and Kenya) - 62,940 sq km; Lake Tanganyika (shared with Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, and Zambia) - 32,000 sq km; Lake Malawi (shared with Mozambique and Malawi) - 22,490

    Salt water lake(s): Lake Rukwa - 5,760 sq km

  • Thailand

    Salt water lake(s): Thalesap Songkhla - 1,290 sq km

  • Turkey (Turkiye)

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Beysehir - 650 sq km; Lake Egridir - 520 sq km

    Salt water lake(s): Lake Van - 3,740 sq km; Lake Tuz - 1,640 sq km;

  • Turkmenistan

    Salt water lake(s): Caspian Sea (shared with Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Kazakhstan) - 374,000 sq km

  • Uganda

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Victoria (shared with Tanzania and Kenya) - 62,940 sq km; Lake Albert (shared with Democratic Republic of Congo) - 5,590 sq km; Lake Kyoga - 4,430 sq km; Lake Edward (shared with Democratic Republic of Congo) - 2,150 sq km

  • United States

    Fresh water lake(s): Michigan – 57,750 sq km; Superior* – 53,348 sq km; Huron* – 23,597 sq km; Erie* – 12,890 sq km; Ontario* – 9,220 sq km; Lake of the Woods – 4,350 sq km; Iliamna – 2,590 sq km; Okeechobee – 1,810 sq km; Belcharof – 1,190 sq km; Red – 1,170 sq km; Saint Clair – 1,113 sq km; Champlain – 1,100 sq km
    note - Great Lakes* area shown as US waters

    Salt water lake(s): Great Salt – 4,360 sq km; Pontchartrain – 1,620 sq km;  Selawik – 1,400 sq km; Salton Sea – 950 sq km

  • Uruguay

    Salt water lake(s): Lagoa Mirim (shared with Brazil) - 2,970 sq km

  • Uzbekistan

    Fresh water lake(s): Aral Sea (shared with Kazakhstan) - largely dried up

  • Venezuela

    Salt water lake(s): Lago de Maracaibo - 13,010 sq km

  • West Bank

    Salt water lake(s): Dead Sea (shared with Jordan and Israel) - 1,020 sq km
    note - endorheic hypersaline lake; 9.6 times saltier than the ocean; lake shore is 431 meters below sea level

  • World

    top ten largest natural lakes: Caspian Sea (Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan) 374,000 sq km; Lake Superior (Canada, United States) 82,100 sq km; Lake Victoria (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda) 62,940 sq km; Lake Huron (Canada, United States) 59,600 sq km; Lake Michigan (United States) 57,750 sq km; Lake Tanganyika (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Zambia) 32,000 sq km; Great Bear Lake (Canada) 31,328 sq km; Lake Baikal (Russia) 31,500 sq km; Lake Malawi (Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania) 22,490 sq km; Great Slave Lake (Canada) 28,568 sq km

    note 1: the areas of the lakes are subject to seasonal variation; only the Caspian Sea is saline, the rest are fresh water

    note 2: Lakes Huron and Michigan are technically a single lake because the flow of water between the Straits of Mackinac that connects the two lakes keeps their water levels at near-equilibrium; combined, Lake Huron-Michigan is the largest freshwater lake by surface area in the world

  • Zambia

    Fresh water lake(s): Lake Tanganyika (shared with Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Burundi) - 32,000 sq km; Lake Mweru (shared with Democratic Republic of Congo) - 4,350 sq km; Lake Bangweulu - 4,000-15,000 sq km seasonal variation