LAKES

Lakes form where water fills hollows in the landscape. Some of these hollows are formed by glaciers gouging into the ground, and some are created when river valleys are blocked by dams. Other lakes are formed in volcanic craters, or when land sinks during earth movements. Most lakes contain freshwater, but there are some saltwater lakes, such as the Dead Sea between Israel and Jordan.

STAGE 1: BEND EROSION

Rivers can gradually produce lakes as they flow. The outside banks of the meanders (bends) erode and sediment builds up on the insides, making the meanders longer.

STAGE 2: BREAKTHROUGH

Eventually two ends of a meander get so close to each other that the water breaks through. This often happens during a flood. Now most river water by-passes the bend.

STAGE 3: OXBOW LAKE

The water flowing into the bend slows down. It drops its sediment, which blocks the ends of the bend, leaving a crescent-shaped lake called an ox-bow lake.

GLACIAL LAKE

These lakes on the Isle of Skye in Scotland were created by glaciers thousands of years ago. Glaciers begin to form high on mountain sides, from snow and ice which builds up and scours hollows in the rock called cirques. When the glaciers melt, these fill with melt water to form cirque lakes, which continue to be fed by rainwater flowing off the hillsides.

Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

3 Fun Thanksgiving Games for Kids
Looking for some great Thanksgiving games to play with your kids? Print our free Pin the Feathers on the Turkey game, Pin the Hat on the Pilgrim game, and Thanksgiving Parade Bingo game for loads of laughs this Turkey Day!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top Family Movies in Theaters for the Holidays
Taking the kids to the movies is a special family treat for the holidays! Don't miss 2014's best family films in theaters from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!