This Is The Difference Between A ‘Lake’ And A ‘Pond’

I was watching Silicon Valley the other day and in a Season 4 episode Dinesh asked this silly, yet interesting for all of us useless info junkies out there, question: when does a pond become a lake?

Well, because it reminded me the article we wrote about The Difference Between ‘Ocean’ And ‘Sea’, i’ve decided to write another one and clarify things out once more.

So, without further ado, here’s the difference between a ‘lake’ and a ‘pond’. (the article continues after the ad)

Before we get into it, it’s important here to clarify that the difference mentioned below is somewhat arbitrary as there’s no precise regulation in neither the statues (RSA 485-A and Env-Ws 1700) that regulate the water quality of surface waters. Yes, in general, lakes tend to be larger than ponds however, there are numerous ponds out there that are larger than lakes. So (in this case) size doesn’t matter.

What does matter, is depth – and that includes both thermal stratification and plant growth:


According to thermal stratification, a lake is a surface body of water that’s deep enough to thermally stratify into 2 or 3 layers during summertime in temperate regions (e.g. New Hampshire). A lake’s depth also allows for an “aphotic zone”  – there’s a deep enough area where sunlight can’t reach the bottom.


A pond, on the other hand, lacks thermal stratification and is shallow enough that allows sunlight to penetrate to the bottom and hence, support rooted plant growth across its width. There’s some dispute between limnologists about the plants: some include all plant growth (which includes submerged plants) while others claim that a pond is shallow enough to only support emergent and/or floating-leafed plants.

As you can see, these definitions are far from precise yet we have to accept the fact that most probably we’ll never have a consistent definition. But at least now you know what limnologists call a ‘lake’ and what they call a ‘pond’.

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: This Is The Difference Between ‘Poisonous’ And ‘Venomous’ Snakes 

Photo: Wikimedia, Wikimedia
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: Lake or Pond – What is the Difference? | What’s the Difference Between a Lake and a Pond? | What Are The Differences Between A Lake And A Pond? 

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