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Introduction: Have you gone swimming or fishing in a lake? Lakes are inland bodies of standing water. They are surrounded by land. Lakes do not have steady flowing currents like rivers and oceans.

Depending on where you live, there may or may not be a lake nearby. Lakes are not distributed evenly around the Earth. In North America, more lakes are located in Canada and the northern United States than in Mexico and the southern United States. Where lakes form depends on the geography, geology, and climate. Lakes form in basins, or depressions, in the land. Over time, water fills the basins. The water can come from precipitation, melting ice, groundwater, or runoff. If more water leaves the lake through evaporation or other processes than water entering the lake, the lake may eventually dry out and disappear.  

Pond is a term often used with the word lake. There is no set difference between ponds and lakes. A pond in one place may be considered a lake in a different place. However, the word pond more often refers to an inland standing water body that is shallow enough for sunlight to reach the bottom. The term lake usually refers to a water body that is deeper and has a wider range of water temperatures than a pond.

Directions for This Lesson: In this lesson, you will learn about lakes. First, try the practice questions to see what you already know. Then, watch the video lesson.


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