Why are the Great Lakes not called a sea?

Discussions on the interactions between components of the environment and their effects on all types of organisms.

Why are the Great Lakes not called a sea?

Postby caters on May 19th, 2018, 4:27 pm 

From me looking at maps, excluding the Caspian sea and the Great Lakes, I see these in common for seas and lakes:

  • Saltwater
  • Connected to the rest of the ocean via either an isthmus, river, or gulf
  • Bigger than any lake

  • Most are freshwater
  • Landlocked
  • Not nearly as big as any sea

So back to these 2 bodies of water in question. Some people consider the Caspian sea to be a lake and others consider it to be a sea. While historically, it might have been part of a sea, it is landlocked now so it would be more suited to call this the Caspian Salt Lake, thus making it the largest lake on Earth and also the largest Saline lake.

The Great Lakes are also in question, to me at least. While the majority of the world considers them lakes and they were historically a lake(really, the rivers and small lakes in that area connecting them are so small in comparison that it is basically 1 body of water), the Erie canal has since then connected the lakes to the St. Lawrence River. So it would be more suited to call this the Great Freshwater Sea. I have no idea how this would rank up to other seas like the Mediterranean Sea in area but it would be the world's only freshwater sea.

So why are the Great Lakes not considered a freshwater sea and why is there still debate as to whether the Caspian sea is a saline lake or a sea?
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