• Lakes occupy the hollows of the land surface in which water accumulates & vary tremendously in size, shape, depth & mode of formation.
  • The tiny ones are no bigger than ponds or pools, but the large ones are so extensive that they merit the name of the seas e.g. Caspian Sea.
  • It must be noted that the lakes are only temporary feature of the earth crust & eventually be eliminated by draining & silting up.
  • Most of the lakes in the world are fresh water lakes fed by the rivers
  • But in regions where evaporation is greater than precipitation & only few streams filling up the lake, form saline water lakes such as Dead sea & Great Salt Lake of Utah.
Lakes and Types of Lakes
Types of Lakes

Lakes formed by earth movement

Tectonic lakes

  • Due to warping, bending & fracturing of earth crust, tectonic depressions occur which give rise to lakes of immense sizes & depths
  • Examples → Lake Titicaca (at Andes) – Highest lake of the world, Caspian Sea (Largest lake of the world & 5 times larger than its nearest rival i.e. lake superior)
Tectonic lakes

Rift Valley Lakes

  • Due to faulting, a rift valley is formed by sinking of land between two parallel faults which is deep, narrow & elongated in character.
  • Water collect in these troughs & their floors are often below sea level
  • Eg. Lake Tanganyika (World’s deepest lake) & Dead Sea (World’s lowest lake)
Rift Valley Lakes

Lakes formed by Glaciation

Cirque Lakes/Tarns

  • A glacier on its way down the valley leaves behind circular hollows in the heads of the valleys up in the mountains known as corries or cirque
  • Their over deepened floors may be filled with water to form cirque lakes
  • Those that occupy long & deep glacial troughs down the valley are termed as Ribbon lakes
Cirque Lakes

Kettle Lakes

  • They are basically depressions in the outwash plain left by the melting of masses of stagnant ice
  • They are irregular because of the uneven moraine surface & are never of any great size or depth
Kettle Lakes

Rock Hollow Lakes

  • Formed by ice scouring when valley glaciers or ice sheets scoop out hollows on the rock surface (lakes enclosed within a rock hollow)
  • Such lakes are abundant in Finland (Land of lakes)

Lakes formed due to Moraine damming of Valleys

  • Valley glaciers often deposit moraine debris across a valley so that lakes are formed when water accumulates behind the barrier.
  • Both lateral & terminal moraines are capable of damming valleys.

Lakes formed due to deposition of glacial drifts

  • In glaciated lowlands with a predominant drumlin landscape, where drainage is poor
  • There are intervening depressions which are often waterlogged, forming small lakes

Lakes formed by volcanic activity

Crater & Caldera Lakes

  • During a volcanic explosion, top of the cone may be blown off, leaving behind a natural hollow called a crater, which may be enlarged by subsidence into a caldera
  • In dormant & extinct volcanoes, rain falls straight into the crater or caldera which has no superficial outlet & forms a crater or caldera lake
Caldera Lakes

Lava Blocked Lakes

  • In volcanic regions a stream of lava may flow across a valley which may solidify
  • Solidifying of lava may dam the river, leading to the formation of lava blocked lakes.

Lakes formed due to subsidence of volcanic land surface

  • The crust of hollow lava flow may collapse
  • Subsidence leaves behind a wide & hollow depression in which a lake may form.

Lakes formed by Erosion

Karst lakes

  • The solvent action of rain water on limestone carves out solution hollow.
  • When these become clogged with debris, lakes may form in them.
  • The collapse of limestone roofs of underground caverns may result in the exposure of long, narrow lakes that were once underground.
  • The large depressions called Polje, which normally do not have any outlet, may contain lakes.
Karst lakes

Wind deflated lakes

  • The deflating action of winds in deserts creates deep hollows which may reach water table via which water seeps out forming small shallow lakes.
  • Excessive evaporation causes these to become salt lakes or Playas.

Lakes formed by Deposition

Lakes formed due to river deposits

  • A river may shorten its course during a flood by cutting its meandering loops leaving behind a horseshoe shaped channel called ox – bow lake.
ox-bow lake

Lakes formed due to marine deposits

  • The action of wind & waves may isolate lagoons along the coasts, enclosed by narrow spit of land known as lagoon lakes.
  • Lagoonis a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by barrier islands or reefs.
  • In East Germany & Poland lagoons are called Haffs.

Lakes formed due to landslides, screes & avalanches

  • Landslides or screes may block valleys so that rivers are dammed, leading to formation of temporary lakes.
  • Lakes formed by these processes are also known as barrier lakes.
  • Such lakes are short lived because the loose fragments that pile up across the valleys will soon rupture under pressure & will give way to water.
  • When they suddenly give way, the dammed water rushes down causing floods

Lakes formed by Human & Biological activities

Man-made lakes

  • Besides the natural lakes, man has created artificial lakes by erecting a concrete dam across a river valley
  • This is done so that the river water can be kept in check to form reservoirs.

Lakes made by animals

  • Animals like Beavers are particularly interesting.
  • They live in communities & construct dams across the rivers with timber, mud & soil.
  • Such Beaver dams are quite permanent & modify the natural environment in such a way that the overall ecosystem builds upon the change, making beavers a keystone species.

Other type of man-made lakes

  • Ornamental lakes → Especially made to attract tourists
  • Lakes made by men mining activities
  • Inland fishing lakes to develop inland fish culture
Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Thank you soo much for providing best notes of geography.