A lake is a body of water that is located in a basin and is surrounded by land, with the exception of any river or other outlet that helps to feed or drain the lake. Lakes are on land and are not part of the ocean, yet they are part of the Earth’s water cycle, as are the much bigger seas.

Lakes are separate from lagoons, which are often found on the ocean’s coast. They are often larger and deeper than ponds, which are also found on land, however no formal or scientific classifications exist. Lakes are distinct from rivers or streams, which typically run in a channel on land. Rivers and streams feed and drain the majority of lakes.