Lake and lagoon

The difference between lake and lagoon is that in the lake the water flows towards other bodies of water (sea, river, stream) while in the lagoon the water remains stagnant.

lake is a body of water that has an inlet or outlet in rainwater, groundwater, and rivers.

lagoon is a body of stagnant water that has an entrance of rivers or streams, but does not have an outlet.


A lake is a large expanse of fresh water (in most cases), very deep and separated from other bodies of water such as seas or rivers. However, it connects to them through inlets and outlets through which the water is constantly flowing.

This means that the water in the lakes is permanently renewed and does not stagnate. For this reason, lakes do not accumulate as many mineral salts at the bottom, since they are carried away by currents.

Although a lake has water inlets and outlets, if there is an imbalance between the amount of water that enters and leaves, dewatering can occur, which would cause the lake to disappear.

This phenomenon can occur if very little water enters and, on the other hand, a lot of water leaves, which prevents the lake from replenishing its body of water and ends up disappearing, either temporarily (due to seasonal changes, for example) or permanently (as a consequence of climate change).

Examples of lakes

  • Caspian Sea (Europe and Asia).
  • Aral Sea (Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan).
  • Lake Ladoga (Russia).
  • Lake of Maracaibo (Venezuela).


A lagoon is a shallow body of water that has no connection with other systems such as nearby streams, seas or rivers.

As the water in the lagoons cannot flow, it ends up stagnating, which generates a sedimentation of the soil that, when saturated with minerals, makes the water become salty.

On the other hand, as the lagoons are shallow, their waters tend to maintain stable temperatures, since they can heat up or cool down in a homogeneous way.

In this sense, the absence of water currents and the effect of high temperatures can cause the lagoon to drain, which will end up drying up temporarily (until the next rainy season, in tropical areas) or permanently.

Examples of gaps

  • Torrevieja Lagoon (Spain).
  • New Caledonia Lagoon (South Pacific)
  • Laguna Khara (Bolivia).
  • Laguna de Tota (Colombia).

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