10 Highest Lakes in the World

Hiking at a scenic mountain lake

Jordan Siemens/Getty Images 

A lake is a a body of fresh or salt water, normally found in a basin (a sunken area or one with lower elevation than the area surrounding it) surrounded by land. Lakes can be formed naturally via several different Earth physical processes, or they can be artificially created by humans, such as in old mining craters.

Earth is home to hundreds of thousands of lakes that vary in size, type, and location. Some of these lakes are located in very low elevations, while others are high in mountain ranges. This list features the Earth's 10 highest lakes is arranged by their altitude. Interestingly, some of the highest are only temporary lakes, as they exist in extreme locations in mountains, glaciers, and volcanoes and consequently freeze solid in the winter.

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Ojos del Salado

Laguna verde

 Cesar Hugo Storero/Getty Images

Elevation: 20,965 feet (6,390 m)

Location: Chile and Argentina

Ojos del Salado is the world's highest active volcano as well as the world's highest lake. The lake is on its eastern face.

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Lhagba Pool (extinct)

Old tibetan woman in traditional dress, Tibet

Matteo Colombo/Getty Images

Elevation: 20,892 feet (6,368 m)

Location: Tibet

The Llagba Pool, located a few miles north of Mount Everest, was once considered the second-highest lake. However, satellite images from 2014 showed that the lake has dried out. Llagba Pool is now considered extinct. 

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Changtse Pool

Everest mountain view on top of Kalapattar view point at night, Everest region, Nepal

Punnawit Suwuttananun/Getty Images

Elevation: 20,394 feet (6,216 m)

Location: Tibet

Changtse Pool is meltwater that has developed in the Changtse (Beifeng) Glacier, near Mount Everest.

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East Rongbuk Pool

Rongbuk valley

 Ocrambo/Wikimedia Commons

Elevation: 20,013 feet (6,100 m)

Location: Tibet

The East Rongbuk Pool is similar to the Changtse; it's a temporary lake of meltwater high in the Himalayas.

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Acamarachi Pool

Image of the Acamarachi Pool

Valerio Pillar / CC BY-SA 20

Elevation: 19,520 feet (5,950 m)

Location: Chile

The stratovolcano containing the lake, also known as Cerro Pili, may be extinct.

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Cerro Walter Penck/Cerro Cazadero/Cerro Tipas

Atacama, Chile

 Peter Giovannini/Getty Images

Elevation: 19,357 feet estimated (5,900 m)

Location: Argentina

Cerro Walter Penck (aka Cerro Cazadero or Cerro Tipas) is just southwest of Ojos del Salado.

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Tres Cruces Norte

Atacama, Chile

 Peter Giovannini/Getty Images

Elevation: 6,206 m (20,361 ft)

Location: Chile

Nevado de Tres Cruces volcano last erupted 28,000 years ago. The north face is where the lagoon sits, part of the larger national park.

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Lake Licancbur

Crater Lake of Licancabur, Chile

Albert Backer/Wikimedia Commons

Elevation: 19,410 feet (5,916 m)

Location: Bolivia and Chile

High Andean lakes such as Lake Licancbur are analgous to Martian lakes as the surface of the red planet dried up and are being studied as such. Lake Licancbur is near the Atacama Desert.

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Aguas Calientes

Machu Picchu Sunrise

 Stanley Chen Xi, landscape and architecture photographer/Getty Images

Elevation: 19,130 feet (5,831 m)

Location: Chile

The name likely comes from the volcano-warmed waters; the lake is a crater lake at the volcano's summit.

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Ridonglabo Lake

Valley near Mt Evest Base Camp.

 Sean Caffrey/Getty Images

Elevation: 19,032 feet (5,801 m)

Location: Tibet

Ridonglabo Lake is also in Mount Everest's neighborhood, at 8.7 miles (14 km) northeast of the peak.