Most lake basins originate through nonliving processes but they occasionally involve the behavior of animals such as beaver, ungulates, and humans. Although a relatively limited number of recognized processes originate lake basins, the path followed by any particular lake will always be unique and inherently richer and more variable than a classification scheme can convey. Understanding the origin of a lake basin not only serves to document the natural history of its landscape but also provides valuable context for the investigation of its past and contemporary limnology.

See also: Abundance and Size Distribution of Lakes, Ponds and Impoundments; Africa: South of Sahara; Antarctica; Aquatic Ecosystem Services; Arctic; Geo-morphology of Lake Basins; Mixing Dynamics in Lakes Across Climatic Zones; North America.

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