What's the difference between a lake and a river?

Question:

What's the difference between a lake and a river?

Life in Fresh Water:

Broadly speaking, all freshwater on Earth can be divided into two main geographic forms, rivers and lakes. They are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world due to the abundance of water, providing moisture for plant and animal growth as well as habitat for aquatic organisms.

Answer and Explanation:

The primary difference between a river and a lake is that a river has a direct motion, constantly traveling downhill, while a lake is stationary and has little, if any, motion of flow. While the majority of rivers on Earth will eventually reach the oceans, creating rich deltas where freshwater meets salt water, some evaporate first: the Okavango Delta in Africa is famous for dumping huge quantities of water into the desert each year, briefly creating an oasis rich in life before the harsh African sun dries it all up. One other crucial difference is that all rivers are freshwater but a select few lakes can be salt water, most notably the Great Salt Lake in Utah, where high quantities of salt crystals in the underlying soil create high salinity that reduces the ability of many organisms to survive.


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Freshwater Biomes: Climate, Locations, Plants & Animals

from Supplemental Science: Study Aid

Chapter 1 / Lesson 4
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