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Re: Pond-erings -- Ordinary usage and technical definitions

James Purchase said some good stuff about ponds, etc and I
want to add some more about the terms "lake," "pond," and
"puddle."  James said, in part:

> Poor Stephan Mifsud is feeling undersized:
> "Everybody out there is calling a 6 ACRE BODY OF WATER a
> pond!, so what's my 6 feet pond called in the US? a
> puddle?
> a drip? : )  . . .

> . . .Generally a "lake" is any body of water in which
> wind-induced turbulence
> plays a major roll in the mixing of the water column. In
> a "pond", a more
> gentle, temperature-induced mixing is the rule. Also,
> lakes quite often have
> several inputs and outflows - streams/brooks/rivers
> running in or out of the
> lake; ponds commonly have none or only small brooks
> providing fresh water
> input. A lot has to do with size and depth but very few
> people would attempt
> to make a lake - it would be a really big task. . . 

The application of terms (names and predicates) generally
relies on the usefulness of doing so.  James's suggested
definitions seem to rely more on technical uses of the
terms "pond" and "lake" and than ordinary use.  I doubt
most folks think about water column flows and the extent of
their wind induced movement when they talk about lakes or
ponds or puddles.  OR even that many would agree that
that's the right way to draw a line between lakes and
ponds, or to be more precise, the approriate application of
the terms "lake" and pond."

Not that technical terms are often more useful than
ordinary language, but confusing the two often leads to
confusion.  The usefulness of a technical term depends o
the uses needed.  A technical definition of a lake in legal
matters might be quite different than one in matters
botanical.  And when the two mix it can be trouble.  If you
have ever had to struggle with the presence or removlal of
a small amount of water on regulated wetland
you might have experienced a form of such trouble.

I haven't done an investigation but I would guess that, in
ordianry use, lakes are big and ponds are small and there
is a lot of grey are inbetween.  And the usage differs with
the circumstance (as is the case with many terms):

When the snow melted near the overpass, I drove through a
puddle that was bigger than my neighbor's homemade pond.  A
persistent puddle will become known as a pond, but only if
it's big enough.  The little natural sump in the corner of
my yard where the stump came out, which stays full of water
all year round, would never pass for a pond.  To many, it
ain't a lake unless humans can boat it. 

And Crater Lake (which is a natural reservoir in
crater-topped mountain), last I checked, had virutally no
rivers or streams supplying it's water; it relies on
rainfall alone for water coming in and evaporation for
water going out (give or take a seep or two, I'd imagine). 
One could say the same thing about most things that pass
for puddles but it's hard to think of Crater Lake as puddle
or a pond.

One might suppose that being bounded inland has something
to do with being a lake rather than an ocean or sea.  But
perhaps not, the Salton Sea versus the Great Salt Lake is a
whole other matter, as lakes go, if you *see* what I mean. 

Lakes and ponds would have made Wittgenstein very happy,
almost universally ;-)

Scott H.

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