What is the difference between Lakes and Ponds?

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What is the difference between Lakes and Ponds?

This article will attempt to define for the reader the difference between lakes, ponds and other bodies of water. We will also discuss in some detail the characteristics and effects of lakes, ponds and waterways on the environment.

What is the difference between lakes and ponds? This has been a topic of discussion for some time. Well everyone has their own opinion as to what should be called a lake or a pond. With so many different types of water ways lakes, ponds and streams, we will only touch on the most common.

What factors typically determines if a body of water classifies as a lake or a pond is usually the size. There are other factors that are arbitrary and not very consistent as a rule of thumb. Lakes are usually fresh water and natural with a smaller percent being artificially created, or in other words they are not a naturally formed body of water. Lakes are usually deeper then ponds, larger in size and surface area. Depending on the size of the lake and the depth of the water, larger lakes have the ability to effect and influence local climates. Deeper lakes will have a dramatic temperature change from the top to the bottom waters, with the sun light never reaching the deeper points of the lake.

Ponds are usually man-made, not naturally formed and are typically shallower then lakes. The surface area of a typical pond is much smaller than a lake. The water temperature is usually consistent from suffice to the bottom. Ponds will usually have abundant aquatic plant life across the bottom subsurface due to shallow depths and the ability of sunlight to reach the deepest areas of the pond. This is significant in the growth of aquatic plant life.

From a state by state regulatory point of view, there is no difference between lake, ponds or any other water way. Rules and regulations set forth by the governing bodies include both ponds and lakes making no distinction between the requiring that both are required to meet the same water quality standards.

There are many ways a lake or pond can form, with over 60% of the world lakes located in Canada. Tectonic uplift of a mountain can produce a bowl like depression that can collect water creating lakes and streams. Subglacial lakes are permanently covered with ice. They are usually found under Ice caps, in regions of severe cold weather like Antarctica. Artificial lakes are created by damming up a stream, water way or flooding. Open pit mining such as phosphate mines located in Florida are common, they will fill with water due to the high water table. Sinkholes can turn into lakes. They typically come from dissolve creating a dip that will eventually fill with water. Beaver ponds are classic in that they are constructed and maintained by beavers.

Now that you know how lakes, pond and streams are created, you can understand how important it is to keep our water sources healthy, clean and free of contamination.

By: Bradley Skierkowski