Body of Water | Types of Water Bodies on Earth

What is a body of water?

Body of water or water body (often spelled water body) is any significant accumulation of water, generally on a planet's surface. The term most often refers to, Seas, Oceans, Lakes, but it includes smaller pools of water such as Ponds, Wetlands, or more rarely, Puddles. A body of water does not have to be still or contained; Rivers, Streams, Canals, and others where water moves from one place to another are also considered bodies of water.

Most are naturally occurring geographical features, but some are artificial.  

Bodies of water that are navigable are known as waterways. Some bodies of water collect and move water, such as rivers and streams, and others primarily hold water, such as lakes and oceans.

The term body of water can also refer to reservoir of water held by a plant, technically known as a Phytotelma.

Bodies of water are affected by gravity which is what creates the tidal effects on Earth. 

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




Rivers and Streams



Ocean hd image free download
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.

Read more about Ocean


Sea hd image free download
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 sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean, is the body of salty water that covers over 70% of the Earth's surface. It moderates Earth's climate and has important roles in the water cycle, carbon cycle, and nitrogen cycle. 

Humans harnessing and studying the sea have been recorded since ancient times, and evidenced well into prehistory, while its modern scientific study is called oceanography. 

The word sea is also used to denote second-order sections of the sea, such as the Mediterranean Sea, as well as certain large, entirely landlocked, saltwater lakes, such as the Caspian Sea.

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 


Lake hd image free download
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.

A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land, apart from any river or other outlet that serves to feed or drain the lake. Lakes lie on land and are not part of the ocean, although like the much larger oceans, they form part of earth's water cycle. 

Lakes are distinct from lagoons which are generally coastal parts of the ocean. They are generally larger and deeper than ponds, which also lie on land, though there are no official or scientific definitions. 

Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams, which are usually flowing in a channel on land. Most lakes are fed and drained by rivers and streams.

Natural lakes are generally found in mountainous areas, rift zones, and areas with on-going glaciation. Other lakes are found in endorheic basins or along the courses of mature rivers, where a river channel has widened into a basin.  

Many lakes are artificial and are constructed for industrial or agricultural use, for hydro-electric power generation or domestic water supply, or for aesthetic, recreational purposes, or other activities.

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

River, Stream

River hd image free download
Stream hd image download
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.

A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. Small rivers can be referred to using names such as stream, creek, brook, rivulet, and rill. 

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. more.


Glacier hd image free download
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.

Glacier is a persistent body of dense ice that is constantly moving under its own weight. A glacier forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. 

Glaciers slowly deform and flow under stresses induced by their weight, creating crevasses, Seracs, and other distinguishing features. They also abrade rock and debris from their substrate to create landforms such as cirques, moraines, or fjords. Glaciers form only on land and are distinct from the much thinner sea ice and lake ice that forms on the surface of bodies of water.

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.

Question- What is the smallest body of water?

Answer- The smallest body of water is the brook, a natural stream of water that is found aboveground and is often called a creek as well.

Question- What are the different types of water bodies?

Answer- The different types of water and are as follows;

  • Oceans.
  • Seas.
  • Lakes.
  • Rivers and Streams.
  • Glaciers.

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