Environmental Chemistry

Types of Bodies of Water

Water is one of the most important natural resources on earth and it can be found in various forms on earth. There are various water bodies which divide into categories of salt and fresh as well as small and large. Their features differentiate them from each other. You have must have seen oceans, streams, ponds and more. All of these are bodies of water only which carry the utmost importance for life on earth. Let us discuss the different types of bodies of water in detail for a better understanding.

bodies of water

Bodies of Water

Oceans

Oceans are the biggest bodies of water on earth which cover at least 71% of the surface of the earth. The entire marine saltwater which you see on earth ultimately ends up in the World Ocean.

However, the way our continents are arranged, it makes it easier to differentiate between specific ocean basins. Thus, looking at this distinction, the Pacific Ocean is the largest one. Then we have the Atlantic Ocean followed by the Indian Ocean.

Finally, we have the Southern Ocean and then the Arctic Ocean. Mankind is dependent on oceans in various ways, for instance, we get food from it, use it for transport and also for its impact on the water cycle.

Seas

These can be basically called sub-sections of the oceans. The coastal reaches of the oceans where they are surrounded by land masses are known as seas.

The most common example of a sea is the Mediterranean Sea. We also have other popular ones like the South China Sea, the Caribbean Sea as well as the Bering Sea. Most of these water bodies directly connect to the ocean.

However, there are particular saline water bodies and the Caspian Sea is an example of that. Furthermore, it divides into smaller categories of bays, straits, and gulfs.

Lakes

These are inland bodies of water and found either with freshwater or saltwater. Lakes are also enclosed by land and some even categorize the Caspian Sea as a lake. There is no precise difference between the lake and a pond.

However, lakes can also be quite huge, like the Great Lakes of North America and Lake Baikal of Russia. Lakes are created from a lot of procedures, some of which are glacial erosion as well as volcanic eruption in addition to damming of rivers.

Rivers and Streams

These are basically bodies of water in motion. In other words, the water which flows on the earth’s surface creates rivers and streams. Streams can be said to be the smaller version of the rivers. They consist of freshwater which ends up in the ocean through the constant flow of rivers and streams.

Rivers are quite an important source of water as well as energy. In addition to that, they are also used greatly for transportation purposes and as fishing grounds. River Nile in Africa is one of the longest rivers in the world in addition to the River Amazon in South America. Furthermore, we have River Mississippi, Congo, Mackenzie and more.

Glaciers

Glaciers are frozen bodies of water. They are also a kind of water body only which moves slowly similar to frozen rivers. All the glaciers, ice caps, glacial ice and all are millions of years old. They cover almost 10% of the earth’s land area and are sources of freshwater.

Question on Bodies of Water

Question– Which of the following is the world’s largest ocean?

A. Pacific Ocean
B. Indian Ocean
C. Arctic Ocean
D. Atlantic Ocean

Answer– The correct answer is option A. Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world.

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