Biggest Lakes in the World

How many of the world's 20 largest lakes by surface area can you name?
In square kilometers
Includes saltwater lakes and inland seas - but not Lake Maracaibo
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: March 2, 2020
First submittedJanuary 8, 2013
Times taken59,915
Average score45.0%
Rating4.49
4:00
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Area
Continent
Lake
371,000
Asia/Europe
Caspian Sea
82,100
North America
Superior
68,870
Africa
Victoria
59,600
North America
Huron
58,000
North America
Michigan
32,600
Africa
Tanganyika
31,500
Asia
Baikal
31,000
North America
Great Bear Lake
29,500
Africa
Malawi
27,000
North America
Great Slave Lake
Area
Continent
Lake
25,700
North America
Erie
24,514
North America
Winnipeg
18,960
North America
Ontario
18,130
Europe
Ladoga
16,400
Asia
Balkhash
12,500
Antarctica
Vostok
9,720
Europe
Onega
8,372
South America
Titicaca
8,264
North America
Nicaragua
7,850
North America
Athabasca
+12
Level 33
Aug 15, 2011
Uh, time to study my lakes!
+22
Level 44
Dec 20, 2011
Just a bit of info.....

The determination of the Caspian Sea as a lake or a sea is in dispute and under negotiation between the 5 littoral states bordering it. A previous agreement between the Soviet Union and Iran listed it as a lake but since the break-up of the USSR the new littoral nations have refused to acknoweldge the previous treaty. If the Caspian were a lake the resources (oil, gas, fishing) and area would be split evenly between the five but if it is a sea the borders would be drawn out from the borders of each nation which would mean Iran would have considerably less territory under their control. There are other concerns but this is the primary issue.

+6
Level 73
May 11, 2022
Anyone can call anything anything, for diplomatic, economic, or any other reason. It's a lake.
+14
Level 21
Apr 21, 2012
13/20 and i'm 11 :D
+11
Level 47
Apr 5, 2018
That is not a score to brag about...
+27
Level 76
Mar 8, 2020
I disagree. I'm 18 and got 10.
+11
Level 67
Mar 8, 2020
It is, the average is 9 so it is pretty good.
+16
Level 57
May 7, 2020
I hate when someone discourages other
+32
Level 66
Mar 8, 2020
I got 21/20 and I am illiterate.
+2
Level 67
May 11, 2022
Well as I have learned 5/4 of people struggle with fractions.
+1
Level 57
May 11, 2022
420/69 and I'm a fetus
+10
Level 69
Jun 24, 2012
I was surprised to not find the Aral Sea on this list. I know it's been shrinking a lot, but still! So I went to Wikipedia to check, and was shocked to find out that it doesn't even exist anymore! D:
+2
Level 16
Jun 20, 2013
At least there's still a NORTH Aral Sea, despite no SOUTH Aral Sea.
+8
Level 61
Mar 16, 2017
It's much worse now. I am now calling it by the new name, The Aralkum Desert.
+2
Level 60
Jan 29, 2021
The Northern part has rebounded most of the way, and is climbing towards normal levels. But the Syr Darya cannot fill the entire sea by itself so whatever extra water they let out just dries up. The western part is still shrinking but it has more depth to area so it is dropping slower.
+2
Level 43
May 26, 2019
Aral Sea is like 3 lakes now but on google maps it says it the thin western part
+4
Level 62
Jan 22, 2021
Poor Aral Sea. If not for extreme evaporation, it would rank fourth in this list.
+3
Level 65
Nov 3, 2021
Lake Chad could have been even higher. Very unfortunate.
+1
Level 55
Jun 24, 2022
Lake Gigachad RIP
+1
Level 71
Jan 8, 2013
Balkhash is not working! I tried it many times too.
+1
Level ∞
Jan 9, 2013
Fixed. Thanks!
+3
Level 57
Jan 8, 2013
i knew baikal. it was on the tip of my tongue. i tried baikan, balkan, balkai, bankal, baklain, etc. and whatever. i tried it like 20 times but i just didn't get baikal =(
+1
Level 39
Jan 9, 2013
Why not Black Sea?
+1
Level 16
Jun 20, 2013
The ocean flows into the black sea, not the other way around.
+1
Level 59
Jan 8, 2015
No, the Black Sea and Atlantic Ocean both flow into the Mediterranean Sea.
+5
Level 60
Jan 29, 2021
Because lakes aren't part of the ocean?
+1
Level 70
Nov 13, 2021
Actually the water flows in both directions simultaneously at different levels, the fresh water flowing above the denser salt water.
+1
Level 69
Nov 14, 2013
Man, missed all the Canadian ones . . . accidentally forgot about the neighbor to the north.
+2
Level 75
Oct 30, 2014
If you are using maximum annual area, then Tonle Sap in Cambodia (16,000 sq km) qualifies. It varies annually between this size in November (end of the wet season) and 2700 sq km in April (end of the dry season).
+4
Level 71
Dec 12, 2015
Lake Eyre in Australia has a maximum area of over 9,500 sq km.
+2
Level 81
Nov 5, 2014
I cheated as much as to check what the name of Lake Onega was in English. Believe it or not, we call it Ääninen, which doesn't really sound a lot like Onega.
+8
Level 71
Dec 12, 2015
I would not get one question correct if the quiz was in Finnish.
+3
Level 88
Jan 8, 2015
That second bullet point in the quiz description is an odd one... "but not Lake Maracaibo". Wouldn't it be better to state the reason Lake Maracaibo isn't included, instead of just randomly excluding it? I'm assuming it has something to do with the fact that it's tidally influenced?
+8
Level 61
Mar 16, 2017
Lake Maracaibo is a lagoon or bay. The Caspian sea is a lake. The Aral sea is a desert.
+1
Level 43
May 26, 2019
Aral Sea is like 3 lakes now but on google maps it says it's the thin western part
+1
Level 60
Jan 29, 2021
I would say the northern part is because that part is stable and rising.
+5
Level 88
Jan 8, 2015
Another item that might bear further review is the inclusion of sub-glacial Lake Vostok. While it has been proven that there is water down there, it's also covered by 13,000 feet of ice which will never melt. Well, that is to say, if it DID melt, then we'd have a hell of a lot bigger problems than ranking lake sizes, because there'd be an ocean in most of our backyards.

Incidentally, if water located permanently beneath a hard surface is to be included, then Salar de Uyuni in South America should be on there. Below a salt crust surface is a 10,582 sq. km pool of brine.

+1
Level 76
Jan 8, 2015
Agreed. Vostok shouldn't be included.
+1
Level 90
Jul 5, 2019
the difference is if it gets hotter the Antarctic lake would appear, whereas Salar de Uyuni would still be under a salt crust.
+1
Level 47
May 11, 2020
considering antarctica is more like an acrhipelago without ice, it might just be ocean...
+1
Level 21
Jan 8, 2015
20/20 on first try, and I'm only 11!
+1
Level 21
Jan 8, 2015
but it took me a while to get Athabasca, Vostok, Onega, Balkhash, and Nicaragua, but I finished with 1:36 left.
+2
Level 65
Mar 24, 2016
You know what? Good for you!!!!!!!!!.....................................
+10
Level 65
Mar 24, 2016
I got 69/20 and I'm -3 year old!
+6
Level 43
May 26, 2019
10,000% and I'm born in 10,000BC!!!
+3
Level 87
Mar 8, 2020
I don’t remember what score I got. I was just born yesterday.
+1
Level 66
Jan 12, 2015
9/20
+1
Level 63
Jan 19, 2016
Very surprised that Salt Lake, Lake Geneva, Lake of the Woods, and Lake Tahoe aren't on here.
+1
Level 68
Jun 5, 2016
Lake Geneva, and Lake Tahoe.
+1
Level 59
Mar 4, 2017
Please accept Nyasa and Niassa as alternatives for Malawi. It is called those by Tanzania and Mozambique respectively. Former claims part of lake - latter unquestionably owns part. And Nyasa is what all British school kids were taught in my (ancient) generation!
+1
Level 73
Mar 4, 2017
I haven't been there since '94, but at that point, Malawians had appeared to be well over the British Empire and were using their own name for their lake.
+1
Level 65
May 12, 2022
East of the lake, the Africans call it Nyassa (Niassa), west of the lake, it's Malawi.
+1
Level 73
May 12, 2022
Interesting. I didn't know that.
+1
Level 71
Mar 4, 2017
Know your lakes? try my ' Largest lakes in area by continents '
+1
Level 60
Mar 4, 2017
Despite its name the Caspian Sea is often regarded as the world's largest lake, but it contains an oceanic basin (contiguous with the world ocean until 11 million years ago) rather than being entirely over continental crust
+1
Level 43
May 26, 2019
It's also kinda being diluted by fresh water apparently
+1
Level 21
Mar 4, 2017
lake tanzania should be accepted for tanganyika
+4
Level 61
Nov 3, 2020
Tanzania was actually derived partly from Tanganyika. "Tan" is from Tanganyika (the old name for the mainland part of Tanzania) and "Zan" is from Zanzibar, which Tanganyika merged with. "Ia" is the suffix, probably because "Tanzan" by itself sounds a bit weird. I don't think Tanzania should be accepted.
+2
Level 52
Mar 5, 2017
I think you need to include a note about seasonal lakes not being included in the quiz. Lake Eyre (max area 9,500km2) and Lake Torrens (max area 5,745km2) are large enough to make in onto this list but rarely have water in them because they are both in Outback Australia.
+1
Level 52
Mar 5, 2017
Re: my earlier post - ignore Lake Torrens I was looking at the wrong page when I included it in the comment. Lake Eyre is definitely large enough to be included.
+3
Level 62
Mar 6, 2017
It would be a cool feature if, when you finished the quiz, a map of the world popped up showing the lakes.
+3
Level 66
May 1, 2017
I had no idea that someone actually went out to these desolate lakes in Canada (Athabaska, Great Bear, Great Slave,) and actually measured them, shows what kind of civil service we had umpteen years ago.
+1
Level 90
Jul 5, 2019
probably GPS
+1
Level 62
Mar 8, 2020
People do live up there - have done for thousands of years, actually. Also, great camping spots. They're gorgeous and the fish are delicious.
+1
Level 83
May 2, 2017
Dang. Missed the Caspian Lake. :-P
+1
Level 74
Oct 4, 2018
A great quiz. I would like to see more lake quizzes.
+1
Level 55
Jan 27, 2020
Surface area for Caspian sea seems a bit (well, about 60,000 sq km) bigger than it is in reality. That figure is more in line with surface area of the Black sea.
+1
Level ∞
Mar 2, 2020
Looks like you are right. The Wikipedia article has been updated, so we updated the quiz.
+1
Level 67
Mar 8, 2020
Wow I only knew 8, thats not too great (though the average is 9 so that makes me feel a bit better)
+1
Level 66
Mar 9, 2020
I only knew 7. But I got 15 because I'm fast reading comments.
+1
Level 84
Mar 8, 2020
couldn't figure out how to spell Tanganyika this time.
+1
Level 65
Mar 9, 2020
Good quiz, decently hard, but not too tough. Could you accept Cocibolca and Granada as type-ins for Lake Nicaragua?
+2
Level 66
Mar 9, 2020
I got 15/20 and my score wasn't even better only because nobody wrote in the comments the name of the 5 lakes I missed. Shame on you...
+2
Level 72
Nov 3, 2020
People can be so inconsiderate.
+1
Level 65
Mar 10, 2020
If you’re going to not allow Maracaibo as a lake because it’s connected to the sea, you should consider Lake Michigan and Lake Huron to be the same lake because they are connected on flat water.
+3
Level 72
Nov 3, 2020
Maracaibo has lake in its name but it's totally not a lake. It's not so much connected to the sea, it's part of the sea.
+1
Level 73
Jun 24, 2020
Does Bangweulu in Zambia not count?
+1
Level 72
Jul 12, 2021
It's too small to be on the list.
+1
Level ∞
Apr 30, 2022
I have no idea why Wikipedia added that to their list since the permanent open water area is only 3000 square kilometers. No doubt it will be removed eventually.
+1
Level 55
Dec 22, 2020
I didn't realize lake Winnipeg was that big, wow
+1
Level 73
May 11, 2022
Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipegosis are in the top 40 too.
+1
Level 70
Jan 22, 2021
Somewhat surprised that some very large countries, like China, Brazil, and India, don't have a single lake on here.
+1
Level 58
Jan 17, 2022
Please be more specific on the area (what unit measured?)
+3
Level ∞
Apr 30, 2022
Square kilometers as mentioned in the caveats
+2
Level 56
May 11, 2022
Can you accept Lake Nyasa for Lake Malawi?
+1
Level 82
May 11, 2022
Got all the ones outside North America, but missed Winnipeg, Nicaragua, and Athabasca. Probably would have got Nicaragua if I'd thought about it longer, but my head was stuck in Canada (which still didn't help with the other two). Not many people got it, but Lake Vostok is quite fascinating - it has been trapped beneath kilometres of ice for millions of years, and thus the life in it has evolved independently of life elsewhere. Of course it's very hard to access and there are concerns of contamination with any access, but it also offers some parallels to missions to icy moons like Europa.
+1
Level 59
May 12, 2022
What happened to Lake Bangweulu in Zambia. 16th largest lake in the world? 15.100 KM
+2
Level 58
May 30, 2022
Its permanent surface is only 3000 km2, the full 15000 km2 is if including swamps around it.