Lake Facts
Lake Facts

36 Wet and Wild Lake Facts

James Israelsen
By James Israelsen, Associate Writer
Published June 10, 2022
  • The first Europeans to discover the Great Lakes named them the "Sweetwater Seas." They believed that China bordered their far shores.[3]
  • The capital city of Tenochtitlán, inhabited by the Aztecs in the 1500s, was built on a series of islands in a massive saltwater lake in what is now central Mexico.[2]
  • Wreckage from around 6,000 shipwrecks rest on the bottom of the Great Lakes.[3]
  • Lake Texcoco, located on the outskirts of Mexico City, has been drained almost entirely dry, in an attempt to create massive stretches of farmland. Unfortunately, the soil beneath was too salty for anything to grow.[2]
  • The Great Lakes were named "Great" due both to their size and because they contain so much fresh water.[3]
  • Although it is Michigan's largest inland lake, Houghton Lake has an average depth of fewer than 9 feet.[7]
  • Although multiple attempts have been made, the remains of the passengers of Northwest Airlines flight 2501, which crashed into the depths of Lake Michigan in 1950, have never been found.[3]
  • It has only been 20 years since the non-native quagga mussel was accidentally introduced into Lake Michigan, but experts say that the entire bottom of the 100-mile-wide lake is covered by trillions of these mussels.[3]
  • Lake Baikal in Siberia contains around 20% of the world's surface fresh water.[16]
  • The South Pole's Don Juan Lake is so salty that it doesn't freeze, even during Antarctica's winters.[7]
  • Lake swimming
    Last one in...
  • "Lake bagging" is a sport invented by Oregon hikers in the 1980s, in which competitors try to "bag" the most lakes by hiking to and then swimming in them.[14]
  • Because Oregon's Crater Lake is located high in the Cascade Mountains, it is often obscured from view by clouds that cover the lake's surface.[1][7]
  • At an average depth of nearly 2,000 feet, Oregon's Crater Lake is the deepest lake totally within the borders of the continental United States.[1][7]
  • Italy's Lake Como has been a filming site for several major movies, including Ocean's Twelve, Casino Royale, and Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.[15]
  • The water in New Zealand's Frying Pan Lake stays between temperatures of 113 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit (45 to 55 Celsius) year-round.[13]
  • By the 1990s, Russia's Lake Karachay had been so heavily polluted by nuclear waste that an hour's worth of exposure to it could kill a human.[13]
  • Onondaga Lake, located in New York state, was so heavily polluted during the 19th century that residents were banned from using it for ice harvesting, swimming, or fishing.[13]
  • The chemical contamination of the Blue Lagoon, a lake in Derbyshire, caused the water to be such a beautiful shade of blue that the county finally had to dye the water black to prevent people from swimming in it.[13]
  • In 1986, CO2 from volcanic vents under the surface of Lake Nyos in Africa formed into an expanding cloud that spread into the nearby village of Nyos, killing all but six residents—roughly 1,700 people.[13]
  • The world's deepest lake, Lake Baikal, reaches a depth of 5,000 feet at it deepest points.[16]
  • Lake Baikal
    Lake Baikal contains more freshwater than all of the North American Great Lakes combined

  • According to a count made in 2014, there are around 117 million lakes on planet Earth.[8]
  • About 76% of all the lakes in the world are smaller than the size of two football fields.[8]
  • A majority of the world's lakes are located in just four countries: Canada, Finland, Russia, and Sweden—plus Alaska.[8]
  • Due to drought and increased irrigation, Mongolia has lost approximately 100 of their lakes in just two decades.[8]
  • Although not everyone agrees whether it is a lake, the Caspian Sea is considered by many to be both the world's largest salt lake and the world's largest lake, period.[5]
  • Utah's Great Salt Lake covers more area than Delaware and Rhode Island combined, and it is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere.[12]
  • Lakes with such a high salt content that a person can float on the surface include the Dead Sea in Israel/Jordan and the Great Salt Lake in Utah.[12]
  • Because of the presence of life in Lake Vostok, a subglacial Antarctic lake with an average temperature of -89 degrees Fahrenheit, some take the lake as evidence that there could be life on planets previously thought to be too cold to sustain any.[11]
  • The world's most isolated fish, the golden catfish, lives in the waters of the subterranean Aigamas Cave lakes in Namibia.[11]
  • Boating Lake Fact
    Clear water can create stunning optical illusions
  • The waters of Greece's Melissani Lake are so clear that boats on its surface sometimes look as though they are floating in the air.[11]
  • The largest human-made lake in the world is Lake Kariba. This 170-mile-long lake was created to provide electricity for the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe.[10]
  • Underwater lakes are formed when salty brine that is too dense to mix with surrounding seawater pools together in amounts large enough to be classified as a lake.[4]
  • Because its high levels of brine and methane kill almost any lifeform that ventures into it, an underwater lake 3,300 feet below the Gulf of Mexico has been christened by scientists as the "Hot Tub of Despair."[4]
  • In addition to being the deepest and the largest freshwater lake, Lake Baikal in Siberia is also the world's oldest lake.[16]
  • In 2003, the British Broadcasting Corporation used 600 sonar beams and satellites to scour the waters of Lake Ness in Scotland for evidence of the Loch Ness Monster—but found nothing.[9]
  • There are dozens of legends about lake monsters living in various lakes around the world, and, although none of them have been proven, their supporters have repeatedly taken steps to secure legal protection for such creatures.[9]
  • Amazing Lake INFOGRAPHIC
    Lake Infographic Thumbnail

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