General Question

Finley's avatar

What is the difference between a pond and a lake?

Asked by Finley (833points) March 11th, 2010

I know a lake is a large body of water, larger than a pond. A pond is a small body of water, smaller than a lake. But what distinguishes a lake from a pond. Couldn’t any lake be a pond and any pond be a lake when comparing it to someone elses larger/smaller pond/lake???

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14 Answers

grumpyfish's avatar

Technically a pond has less than 10 acres of surface area, while a lake has more than that.

(But that’s “technically” in the same way that a “moment” is technically 90 seconds)

YARNLADY's avatar

I was under the impression that a pond has no feeder, while a lake does have.

ArtiqueFox's avatar

@grumpyfish How do you know all this stuff? You are able to ramble facts like it was a daily common, habit. :)

The difference? That depends on the local definition. Size really is a poor indicator. But, this website offers a “test” you can use to determine of the suspect water body is a lake or pond.

However, as a rule of thumb, the a more solid difference between the two is temperature. Ponds generally have roughly the same temperature throughout the water because of smaller area and shallower depth. Lakes, on the other hand, are deeper and cover more land. Therefore, the temperature of a lake will be more varied in different sections. The variance of temperature designates a body of water a lake.

A few other “indicators”: Ponds are capable of diverse plantlike within themselves. Rooted plants can grow on the bottom – often anywhere on the bottom. The area around a pond affects it, but a lake affects the area around it. Ponds freeze. Lakes (because of size) often don’t. If photosynthesis (light and plant growth) can only occur near the surface of the water, than that is a sign of a lake. Finally, lakes are usually natural. Ponds are usually man-made.


-Smart QnA question article.
-“Aquatic Biodiversity:“

marinelife's avatar

“There is a difference between a pond and a lake and it grows primarily out of the source of creation, as with all living things – yes I said living, but we’ll get to that. A lake was made by God; a pond is always man made. As such you might expect ponds, each being made by different men, to look a lot different from one to another and to be stocked with different varieties of plant and animal life from pond to pond, and you’d be right.” Source

snowberry's avatar

And I was taught by my geology prof that a pond has plants that grow to the surface of the water all the way across. I like @YARNLADY‘S answer better tho.

iam2smart99037's avatar

Grumpyfish has this one. Surface area determines if it’s a pond or a lake. I wasn’t aware of the exact requirements, but now I do :)

jaytkay's avatar

A lake was made by God; a pond is always man made

Lake Meade, man-made, 110 miles long, 500 ft deep – is not a pond.
Lake Volta, man-made, 3,283 square miles surface area – is not a pond

arnbev959's avatar

Some guy on some boy scout thing once told me that light can reach the deepest part of a pond, but if sunlight cannot reach the bottom than the body of water is considered a lake.

davidbetterman's avatar

Sometimes the Atlantic Ocean is referred to as ”Across the Pond” from the US!

maudie's avatar

Just for giggles:

In Florida, any puddle, and even a sinkhole, can get called a pond. Anything more substantial than a puddle gets called a lake. Even some sinkholes have gotten to be called Lakes. Take “Lake Lily” and “Lake Eulala” in Maitland, Florida, (my hometown) for example:

Lake Lily satellite view (note distinctive sinkhole shape)

Lake Eulala (even smaller, again note distinctive sinkhole shape)

Your_Majesty's avatar

Pond could be artificially formed by human. Lake can only be formed by mother nature. Also,biome that lives in pond usually species that only adapted to shallow aquatic lifestyle. Lake contains more species ranging from different depth. Pond can dry sometime(depends on season and sun exposure). Lake will never dry by nature.

john65pennington's avatar

I read the article offered by grumpfish. the article was informative, but it left me with no more of an answer than when i first read the question. how about this for an answer: ponds are normally manmade. ponds are usually fed by springwater. lakes are made by man or by nature. the water for a lake come from a river….........maybe. now. i am confused and i am going to bed,

thriftymaid's avatar

size and water source

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