Types of Lakes
- Periglacial lake: Part of the lake's margin is formed by an ice sheet, ice cap or glacier, the ice having obstructed the natural drainage of the land.
- Subglacial lake: A lake which is permanently covered by ice. They can occur under glaciers, ice caps or ice sheets. There are many such lakes, but Lake Vostok in Antarctica is by far the largest. They are kept liquid because the overlying ice acts as a thermal insulator retaining energy introduced to its underside by friction, by water percolating through crevasses, by the pressure from the mass of the ice sheet above or by geothermal heating below.
- Glacial lake: a lake with origins in a melted glacier, such as a kettle lake.
- Artificial lake: A lake created by flooding land behind a dam, called an impoundment or reservoir, by deliberate human excavation, or by the flooding of an excavation incident to a mineral-extraction operation such as an open pit mine or quarry. Some of the world's largest lakes are reservoirs like Hirakud Dam in India.
- Endorheic lake, terminal or closed: A lake which has no significant outflow, either through rivers or underground diffusion. Any water within an endorheic basin leaves the system only through evaporation or seepage. These lakes, such as Lake Eyre in central Australia or the Aral Sea in central Asia, are most common in desert locations.
- Meromictic lake: A lake which has layers of water which do not intermix. The deepest layer of water in such a lake does not contain any dissolved oxygen. The layers of sediment at the bottom of a meromictic lake remain relatively undisturbed because there are no living aerobic organisms.
- Fjord lake: A lake in a glacially eroded valley that has been eroded below sea level.
- Oxbow lake: A lake which is formed when a wide meander from a stream or a river is cut off to form a lake. They are called "oxbow" lakes due to the distinctive curved shape that results from this process.
- Rift lake or sag pond: A lake which forms as a result of subsidence along a geological fault in the Earth's tectonic plates. Examples include the Rift Valley lakes of eastern Africa and Lake Baikal in Siberia.
- Underground lake: A lake which is formed under the surface of the Earth's crust. Such a lake may be associated with caves, aquifers or springs.
- Crater lake: A lake which forms in a volcanic caldera or crater after the volcano has been inactive for some time. Water in this type of lake may be fresh or highly acidic, and may contain various dissolved minerals. Some also have geothermal activity, especially if the volcano is merely dormant rather than extinct.
- Lava lake: A pool of molten lava contained in a volcanic crater or other depression. Lava lakes that have partly or completely solidified are also referred to as lava lakes.
- Former: A lake which is no longer in existence. Such lakes include prehistoric lakes and lakes which have permanently dried up through evaporation or human intervention. Owens Lake in California, USA, is an example of a former lake. Former lakes are a common feature of the Basin and Range area of southwestern North America.
- Ephemeral lake, intermittent lake, or seasonal lake: A seasonal lake that exists as a body of water during only part of the year.
- Shrunken: Closely related to former lakes, a shrunken lake is one which has drastically decreased in size over geological time. Lake Agassiz, which once covered much of central North America, is a good example of a shrunken lake. Two notable remnants of this lake are Lake Winnipeg and Lake Winnipegosis.
- Eolic lake: A lake which forms in a depression created by the activity of the winds.
- Vlei, in South Africa, shallow lakes which vary considerably with seasons.
- Epishelf lakes, unique lakes which exist on top of a dense saltwater body and are surrounded by ice. These are mostly found in the Antarctica.
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