According to calculations made by an international team of scientists there are 307 million lakes in the world. That number includes all natural lakes, but not human-made lakes such as reservoirs formed by dams. Most lakes on earth are small, with nine out of ten lakes covering less than one hectare (2.5 acres).
The world’s largest lake is the Caspian Sea, which extends over 378,119 square kilometres (145,993 square miles), an area about the size of the American state of Montana or Germany. No other lake is larger than 100,000 square kilometres in area.
The 1943 French stamp shown above features a mountain lake in France, Lac Lérié and the magnificent Meije glacier. The stamp was designed and engraved by Pierre Gandon after a photo taken by Paul Almásy. The lake is situated 2,450 metres above sea level on a plateau in the department of Hautes-Alpes.
The beautiful lake scenes above were issued by New Zealand in 1972 and feature two lakes from both the North and South Islands. Lake Waikaremoana (6c stamp) is possibly the most beautiful lake in the North Island, Lake Waikaremoana is situated near Wairoa, Hawke’s Bay. Its star shape and surroundings of forested mountains make it a breathtaking spectacle.
The 8c stamp shows Lake Hayes. Situated in the heart of the Southern Lakes District not far from Queenstown. It was named after Donald Hay, an early Scottish explorer, who sought land in the area. However, a theory persists that it was named after the notorious pirate Bully Hayes.
The longest of the lakes in South Island’s Southern Lakes District is Lake Wakatipu (18c) is noted for its scenic attributes. It is shaped like an “S” and is of glacial origin. With a length of 84 km and an area of 290 square km, it ranks second in size amongst the southern lakes. The mountains in the background are the Remarkables.
A celebrated lake of the Rotorua District. Lake Rotomahana (23c) is three square miles in area and occupies an extremely deep volcanic crater. Originally it was much smaller in area and on its slopes were two of the most beautiful spectacles of this thermal area, the pink and white terraces. Both terraces disappeared after the historic eruption of Mt Tarawera in 1886. It was then that a new Lake Rotomahana came into being.
The New Zealand stamp above, from 1946 shows Lake Matheson and the Southern Alps, including Mount Cook and part of the Fox Glacier.
Above, from India 2006, a five-stamp set of beautifully photographed Himalayan lakes (Chandra Taal, Roopkund, Changu, Sela and Tsomoriri).