Water covers about 70% of our earth’s surface. Of course, the oceans have the largest share of this, but lakes also play their part. And one in particular: which is the largest lake in the world, where it is and how big it is, find out here!
The Caspian Sea – The Largest Lake in the World
The largest lake in the world is a sea? Yes, because the lake is so big that it was given the name Sea. We are talking about the Caspian Sea, a salt lake with an area of almost 400,000 km². This makes the Caspian Sea about the size of Germany and Belgium together and about 720 times the size of Lake Constance. The second largest lake in the world, the Upper Lake in North America, would also fit five times into the Caspian Sea.
The world’s largest lake borders five countries: Iran to the south, Azerbaijan to the west, Turkmenistan to the east, and Kazakhstan and Russia to the north. Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, is probably the most famous city on the Caspian Sea and has one of the largest ports.
Facts and Figures of Caspian Sea
- Area: 386,400 km²
- Length: 1,199 km
- Average width: 320 km
- Average depth: 184 meters
- Maximum depth: 1,025 meters
- Volume: 78,700 km³
Special features of the Caspian Sea
The definition of the Caspian Sea is still controversial. The term sea is due to the size and salinity of the water. By definition, the water is a lake, as it has no natural connection to an ocean. By inland waterways, however, the Caspian Sea is connected to the Baltic Sea, the White Sea, and the Black Sea. In total, the Caspian Sea has over 130 tributaries, the most famous of which are the Volga River from Russia and the Urals River from Kazakhstan, but no runoff.
For almost 100 years, the water level of the Caspian Sea continued to decline, causing the lake to shrink by more than ten percent. Since the late 70s, however, there has been a turnaround, and the sea level of the lake is surprisingly rising again. This could be because global warming is increasingly causing water melt to be transported from the mountains into the lake.
Most affected by this aspect are the numerous islands in the Caspian Sea. Although most are small and uninhabited, there are also some inhabited islands, especially near Azerbaijan.
Raw materials and other treasures
The area around the Caspian Sea is rich in oil and natural gas. Geologists suspect huge reserves of mineral resources on the bottom and the shores of the lake. The affiliation of the oil deposits, however, is controversial among the five riparian states.
Economic importance is also the about 150 species of fish in the Caspian Sea. In addition to herring and carp, especially sturgeons play an important role, as caviar is obtained from them.
Salt is mined and stored in Kara Bogas Bay in Turkmenistan. As a result, the salinity of the water here is up to 30%. On average, however, this amounts to only about 1.2 percent, which is about one-third of the concentration in the oceans.