Difference Between Sea and Lake

For the times immortal, water has been an essential part of the survival of all living beings, whether animals, plants, or humans. Water is the key to life on our planet. Without the existence of water, any of the living beings can not survive.


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Of all the areas of the planet Earth, about 71% is water.

Water is essential to survival in various kinds of water bodies. Some of the different types of water bodies are Oceans, Seas, Rivers, Lakes, Lagoon, Ponds, Reservoirs, etc., where oceans hold about 96.5% of the total water on Earth. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Seas are large bodies of saltwater connected to oceans, while lakes are enclosed bodies of freshwater or brackish water.
  2. Lakes form in various geological settings, such as volcanic craters, glacial formations, and river basins, whereas seas often result from the ocean extending into the land.
  3. Biodiversity in seas is typically higher than in lakes, with a greater variety of marine life and ecosystems.

Sea vs. Lake

A sea is a large body of saltwater connected to an ocean. They are generally much larger than lakes, as they are connected to an ocean and can span thousands of miles. Lake is a large body of freshwater that is surrounded by land. They are generally much smaller and range from just a few acres to several hundred square miles.

Sea vs Lake

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The two important water sources for human beings are seas and lakes. The sea is a large water body that holds much water and is deeper.

A sea is not enclosed by land on the sides. However, there exist some exceptions to this. There are seas present on the Earth that are landlocked.

Another important water body is a lake which is a landlocked water body. Lakes are usually moderate in size and are much shallower than the sea.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonSeaLake
Definition A sea is a water body usually not enclosed by land on its sides; it is home to a saline water ecosystem.A lake is a smaller water body enclosed by land on all sides; it is home to many aquatic creatures.
Formation and ecosystem of the bodyA sea is a naturally formed water body that provides a home to large saline water ecosystems.A lake is natural or man-made, sometimes formed by separating from large water bodies. A lake is home to important aquatic ecosystems.
Size and depthA sea is a large water body and usually has a greater depth.A lake is much smaller as compared to a sea and is also shallower.
Type of waterA sea contains salty water.A lake has either freshwater or saltwater.
Examples Caribbean Sea, Bering Sea, Mediterranean Sea, The Sea of Japan, Andaman Sea, etc.Pangong Tso Lake, Lake Baikal, Caspian Sea, Dead Sea, Lake Superior, Lake Erie, etc.

What is the Sea?

A sea is a naturally formed water body and a perennial water source. A sea is a water body not surrounded by land on all sides.

A sea is a large and deep water body. It is a body that takes water to the oceans through bays or straits.

A sea is a home for many large ecosystems; these ecosystems involve thousands of organisms in it.

The seawater is usually salty to taste. The sea plays a significant role in maintaining the climate on Earth.

It also regulates the carbon and nitrogen cycles of Earth. However, overfishing and increased carbon dioxide levels have left the sea ecosystem drastically affected.

The sea also plays an important role in marine trade, power generation, mineral extraction, etc. They act as ports and dockyards.

Some examples of seas in the world are The Mediterranean Sea, The Caribbean Sea, The Sea of Japan, the Andaman Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, etc.


What is Lake?

A lake is a reservoir that is either natural or man-made; it is either a perennial or temporary water source. It can be formed by separating from the large water body; therefore, they get their water from rivers and streams, and sometimes they get water from rainfalls.

A lake is small to moderate in size and is not deep. It is surrounded by land on all sides. A lake act as a home for a large number of fish ecosystems.

A lake usually has fresh water, but sometimes saltwater lakes can be found. A lake plays an important role in the nearby environment; it helps maintain the place’s temperature.

Some of the lakes were termed seas due to the limited knowledge in early times.

Many lakes are created for irrigation, hydroelectric power generation, domestic supply, etc. Some examples of lakes are Baikal Lake, Pangong Tso Lake, Caspian Sea, Dead Sea, Lake Superior, etc.


Main Differences Between a Sea and a Lake 

  1. A sea is a water body not enclosed by land on all sides; on the other hand, a lake is enclosed by land on all sides.
  2. A sea is a naturally formed water body, while a lake is natural or man-made.
  3. A sea is a larger water body, while a lake is small to moderate.
  4. A sea is deeper, while a lake is shallower.
  5. A sea has salty water, while a lake has fresh or saltwater.
  6. A sea is home to large ecosystems that involve thousands of creatures and organisms, while a lake is home to ecosystems that mostly involve fish in large numbers.
  7. A sea has no subdivisions, while a lake is subdivided based on sources and formation.
  8. A sea is a water source for smaller water bodies; conversely, a lake sources water from large bodies.
  9. Seas are perennial water bodies, while lakes can be perennial or temporary.
Difference Between Sea and Lake
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