Difference Between Pond and Lake

Pond vs Lake

Water occurs on the surface of the earth in the shape of many types of water bodies such as oceans, seas, rivers, creeks, lakes, ponds, and many more. There seems to be no confusion about rivers, seas and oceans, but two water bodies that are very similar to each other and make it difficult for people to name them are ponds and lakes. Sometimes it seems that people name them as ponds or lakes arbitrarily without knowing differences between a pond and a lake. This article tries to take a closer look at these two water bodies that are either natural or man made.

Small bodies of still water, certainly smaller than seas and rivers are ponds and lakes. These are craters full of water, and completely surrounded by land on all sides. The only difference (and that too is vague and undefined) lies in their size. It is said that lakes are larger in size than ponds, but there is no standard size that defines a water body as a lake or a pond. Some experts say that if the surface area of the water body is larger than 2 acres, it qualifies to be called a lake. But there is no unison among experts from all parts of the world to accept size as a criterion in deciding a lake or a pond. Let us take some other factors.

Generally, lake has waves that prevent vegetation from growing along the shore of a lake. This happens because a lake is deep and has enough water to produce waves that can sweep the shoreline in such a way that makes it difficult for vegetation to sustain itself.

There seems to be a difference in temperature of water inside a pond and a lake. Ponds not being much deep have more or less same temperature along the water body. There are stratified temperatures in case of a lake so we have temperatures in the range of 65-75 degrees as we go deeper to the middle of the lake, we see a sudden drop in temperature with temperature going down to 45 degrees F. At the bottom of lake, temperatures are the coldest at around 40 degrees F. In sharp contrast are ponds, where temperatures are more or less constant and do not change much with depth (ponds are not too deep in any case).

If the depth of water body is such that sun’s light is not able to penetrate the bottom surface of the body, it is considered to be a lake. In case of a pond, photosynthesis takes place even at the bottom most layer of water body.

Ponds are identified with rooted plants growing along its body. Bottom of the pond is often muddy, also there is not much wave action to prevent vegetation along the edge of the pond.

In countries with cold climates, it is seen that ponds often freeze, but lakes are much deeper to get frozen. It is really interesting that ponds are affected by the surrounding climate, but lakes are so large that they affect surrounding climate.

What is the difference between Pond and Lake?

· There is no scientific convention to name a water body as a lake or pond.

· In general, water bodies that are very large and deep are called lake, while small ones that are also not very deep are referred to as ponds.

· When light does not penetrate to the bottom of the body, it is called a lake.

· Lake has waves that do not allow vegetation to grow along its shore, while there is vegetation in case of ponds.