Difference Between Ocean and Lake

Ocean vs Lake

Water, which is the lifeline of our planet, is found in abundance and nearly 3/4th of earth is covered with water bodies that are big and small. We know about the big, almost boundary less oceans that cover almost 71% of earth’s surface. These are continuous water bodies that contain saline water and house a huge variety of marine species. Other water bodies that are commonly found all over the world are rivers, lakes, and seas. Though people have heard and seen all such water bodies (or at least heard of them), many confuse between ocean and lakes. This article will try to remove doubts in the minds of reader regarding differences between lake and ocean.


There are rivers that originate in mountains and flow downwards under the action of gravity. They are violent and turbulent and carve out their own course carrying sand and stone that form sediment in areas down the mountains. These rivers are great source of freshwater and finally drain their water into sea, lake or the oceans. Lake is a water body formed with the freshwater of a river and is surrounded by land on all sides. So a lake contains freshwater that is still. Lakes are big and small, and they are mostly formed by rivers in basin areas below mountains and hills. Lakes contain the water and do not drain it in oceans. Lakes are fed by rivers and can dry when rivers do not drain into them. Lakes are not permanent and places that have lakes today were dry hundreds of years ago. Some of the lakes of today may disappear over the course of time.


Oceans are the largest water bodies on earth and there are 4 of them in all, namely Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean. Oceans water is very salty and is a treasure house of marine species (around 230000). Oceans are very deep and average oceanic depth is around 3000 meters. There are no clear boundaries of these oceans and some of them get divided into smaller water bodies known as seas. Though we divide oceans into four, in reality they are one huge water body covering more than 70% of the surface of earth. Oceans play a great role in water cycle that is responsible for sustaining life on earth.

Difference Between Ocean and Lake

• Lakes contain freshwater while oceans are water bodies containing salt water.

• Lakes are shallower and smaller than oceans

• There are scores of lakes in the foothills of mountains whereas there are 4 oceans in the world

• Lakes contain very little marine life whereas oceans are a great source of marine life

• Lakes are still, surrounded by land whereas oceans are always flowing and generate great waves

• Oceans are much deeper and contain great amount of water and in comparison, even large lakes are miniscule in comparison