Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world in area and the third largest in volume, behind Lake Baikal in Siberia and Lake Tanganyika in East Africa. The last time that Lake Superior almost entirely froze over was in 1979 when the lake reached 94.7% ice coverage. The following tables can be sorted by column. The name Superior refers to its size and also designates the lake's position as the northernmost of all the Great Lakes. Magma was injected between layers of sedimentary rock, forming diabase sills. Lake Superior is a fresh water lake, 1.333 feet deep in certain places. This is due to their lower latitudes and large depths. The southern shore of Lake Superior between Grand Marais, Michigan, and Whitefish Point is known as the "Graveyard of the Great Lakes" and more ships have been lost around the Whitefish Point area than any other part of Lake Superior. Lake whitefish are prized for their delicate fillets and, like ciscoes, are lower on the food chain than lake trout and consequentially contain fewer bioaccumulative toxins. Ice closes the Lake shipping from mid-January to late March. The Objibways said that the lake was protected by Nanabijou, Spirit of the Deep Sea Water, according to the University of Wisconsin. Notable production includes gold from the Hemlo mine near Marathon, copper from the Keweenaw Peninsula and the Mamainse Point Formation, iron from the Gogebic Range, silver at Silver Islet, and uranium at Theano Point. They used bows and arrows, paddled dugout canoes, fished, hunted, mined copper for tools and weapons, and established trading networks. In 1985, scientists using a submersible vessel descended for the first time to the deepest part of Lake Superior (-1,332 ft./-405 m), near the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan waters. State Journal archives SS Edmund Fitzgerald. [26] Warmer temperatures could lead to more snow in the lake effect snow belts along the shores of the lake, especially in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It has a surface area of 31,700 square miles (82,100 square km) and water volume of 2,900 cubic miles (12,100 cubic km). Lake Superior has been an important link in the Great Lakes Waterway, providing a route for the transportation of iron ore as well as grain and other mined and manufactured materials. [8] Its average depth is 80.5 fathoms (483 ft; 147 m) with a maximum depth of 222.17 fathoms (1,333 ft; 406 m). [33] These ancient granites can be seen on the North Shore today. The lake holds 3 quadrillion gallons of fresh water. The lake is about 160 miles (257 kilometers) wide and about 350 miles (563 km) long. Lightfoot sings that "The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead". Storms that claimed multiple ships include the Mataafa Storm in 1905 and the Great Lakes Storm of 1913. Lake Superior has been at its modern elevation for only about 2,000 years, when elevations of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron dropped, creating a rapids at Sault Ste. Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes of North America, the world's largest freshwater lake by surface area, and the third largest freshwater lake by volume. Additional reporting by Alina Bradford, Live Science Contributor. Stony debris and sediments, and eventually a great lake, not an ocean, filled the deep depression that had been left on the land. Lake Superior has its origins in the North American Mid-Continent Rift of 1.1 to 1.2 billion years ago, which produced a huge plume of hot mantle where the present lake sits. Glacial meltwaters gathered in the Superior basin creating Lake Minong, a precursor to Lake Superior. The bay, 30 miles (48 km) long (northwest to southeast) and 15 to 34 miles (24 to 55 km) wide, is fed by the Tahquamenon River and connects to the southeast with Lake Huron How deep is Lake Superior? The largest island in Lake Superior is Isle Royale in the state of Michigan. Underwater visibility in some spots reaches 30 meters. [49], As for other Great Lakes fish, populations have also been affected by the accidental or intentional introduction of foreign species such as the sea lamprey and Eurasian ruffe. The Lake Superior region is also home to many common native plant species, including Michigan's state tree, the white pine, and Flowering Rush, an aquatic plant that grows along the shoreline. Lake Vostok - ~1,000 m/~3,300 ft. Vostok Lake in Antarctica is, at 3,300 feet, the fourth deepest … But Lake Superior's water is cold enough year-round to inhibit bacterial growth, and bodies tend to sink and never resurface. After the arrival of Europeans, the Anishinaabe made themselves middle-men between the French fur traders and other Native peoples. It takes almost 200 years for the lake to refill with new water, according to the University of Wisconsin. Superior was a major mode of transportation for the fur industry and other trading activities during the Colonial period and remains a shipping hub today. Overfishing has also been a factor in the decline of fish populations. The increase in the lake's surface temperature may be related to the decreasing ice cover. It has a maximum length of 350 statute miles (560 km; 300 nmi) and maximum breadth of 160 statute miles (257 km; 139 nmi). They are known as the Plano, and they used stone-tipped spears to hunt caribou on the northwestern side of Lake Minong. The Ojibwe name for the lake is gichi-gami (pronounced gitchi-gami or kitchi-gami in different dialects),[13] meaning "great sea". Duluth-Superior, at the western end of Lake Superior, is the most inland point on the St. Lawrence Seaway and the most inland port in the world. Lake Baikal in southern Russia is the world's deepest lake. They called Lake Superior either Ojibwe Gichigami ("the Ojibwe's Great Sea") or Anishnaabe Gichgamiing ("the Anishinaabe's Great Sea"). [23] Additionally, the entire first half of the year (January to June) included record low months. [7][8][9] Lake Superior contains 2,900 cubic miles (12,100 km³) of water. [17][18], Annual storms on Lake Superior regularly feature wave heights of over 20 feet (6 m). In all of the five Great Lakes, Lake Superior stands as the biggest and widest lake of all. Whitefish Bay, southeastern arm of Lake Superior, the centre of which forms the border of Ontario (Can.) Because of its volume, Lake Superior has a retention time of 191 years. Lake Superior first took shape about 1.2 billion years ago as a result of the North American Mid-Continent Rift, which carved an arc-shaped scar stretching from Kansas through Minnesota. Marie, Ontario. One billion years in the making, Lake Superior's majesty, tranquility, and fury are all on display in Bayfield County. The moon rises at sunset at Split Rock Lighthouse, on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior is seen in this photo of the 729-foot vessel, resting in two pieces 530 feet below the surface. Duluth's Hawk Ridge, which is on the lake's north shore, hosts as many as 10,000 migrating birds of prey each day during the fall migration season. The numbers for the world’s largest … Lake Superior has an average underwater visibility of 27 feet (8.2 meters). The low water was a continuation of the dropping lake levels from the previous year, 1925, which set low-water records for October through December. During the nine-month period of October 1925 to June 1926, water levels ranged from 1.58 feet (0.48 m) to 0.33 feet (0.10 m) below Chart Datum. [23], Historic low water They soon became the dominant Native American nation in the region: they forced out the Sioux and Fox and won a victory against the Iroquois west of Sault Ste. Naturally, Lake Superior is by far the deepest lake in Minnesota, with depths as impressive as 1333 feet. Thank you for signing up to Live Science. During the Precambrian (between 4.5 billion and 540 million years ago) magma forcing its way to the surface created the intrusive granites of the Canadian Shield. ... 12. Lake Superior's basin is home to nearly 60 orchid species. Lake Superior's size reduces the severity of the seasons of its humid continental climate (more typically seen in locations like Nova Scotia). This hard diabase protects the layers of sedimentary rock below, forming the flat-topped mesas in the Thunder Bay area. At the mouth of the Michipicoten River, nine layers of encampments have been discovered. Lake Superior empties into Lake Huron via the St. Marys River and the Soo Locks. French explorers, including Samuel de Champlain (circa 1567-1635) and his scout, Étienne Brûlé (circa 1592-1632), arrived in the mid-1600s, according to the Canadian Museum of History. June and July are calm months, while October and November are prone to storms. However, nitrate concentrations in the lake have been continuously rising for more than a century. Isle Royale contains several lakes, some of which also contain islands. The mountains steadily eroded, depositing layers of sediments that compacted and became limestone, dolomite, taconite and the shale at Kakabeka Falls. [37], The Anishinaabe People, which includes the Ojibwe or Chippewa, have inhabited the Lake Superior region for over five hundred years and were preceded by the Dakota, Fox, Menominee, Nipigon, Noquet and Gros Ventres. The first people came to the Lake Superior region 10,000 years ago after the retreat of the glaciers in the last Ice Age. With 78 crewmembers dead, their sinking marked the largest loss of life on Lake Superior to date. Lake Superior's Deepest Point is 1,333 ft (406 m) deep! By 500 B.C., Laurel people were trading for metal and other goods with different regions. New York, [36] Without the immense weight of the ice, the land rebounded, and a drainage outlet formed at Sault Ste. The deepest lake in North America is the Great … Lake Superior is not only the largest of the Great Lakes; it is the largest body of fresh water on Earth. Lake Superior drains into Lake Huron via the St. Marys River. The rocks of Lake Superior's northern shore date back to the early history of the earth. The larger cities on Lake Superior include the twin ports of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin; Thunder Bay, Ontario; Marquette, Michigan; and the twin cities of Sault Ste. They used snow shoes, birch bark canoes and conical or domed lodges. Two recent consecutive winters (2013–2014 and 2014–2015) brought unusually high ice coverage to the Great Lakes, and on March 6, 2014, overall ice coverage peaked at 92.5%, the second-highest in recorded history. How Deep is Crater Lake? It is still an important component of the harbor facilities. In the most recent geological history, during the Wisconsin glaciation 10,000 years ago, ice covered the region at a thickness of 1.25 miles (2 km). Today, tourism is another significant industry: the sparsely populated Lake Superior country, with its rugged shorelines and wilderness, attracts vacationers and adventurers. Lake Superior boasts extremely clear water, with an average underwater visibility of 27 feet (8.2 m). [47][48], Lake Superior has fewer dissolved nutrients relative to its water volume than the other Great Lakes and so is less productive in terms of fish populations and is an oligotrophic lake. The deepest point in Lake Superior (about 40 miles north of Munising, Michigan) is 1,300 feet (400 meters) below the surface. Located on the borders of the United States and Canada, Lake Superior spreads around the states of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Lake Superior has a surface area of 31,700 square miles (82,103 km2),[7] which is approximately the size of South Carolina or Austria. By the early 1600s, the Ojibway people had established a village of several thousand on Madeline Island. The deepest part of Lake Superior is 1,332 feet or 406 meters deep. Water levels, including diversions of water from the Hudson Bay watershed, are regulated by the International Lake Superior Board of Control, which was established in 1914 by the International Joint Commission. In the winter of 1926 Lake Superior reached its lowest recorded level at 1.58 feet (0.48 m) below datum. If you stand on a bank, you will not even come close to seeing the other side, as it’s 167 miles wide and 350 miles long. It may relate to anthropogenic alternations to the regional nitrogen cycle, but researchers are still unsure of the causes of this change to the lake's ecology. Until approximately 1887, the natural hydraulic conveyance through the St. Marys River rapids determined the outflow from Lake Superior. In 1918 the last warships to sink in the Great Lakes, French minesweepers Inkerman and Cerisoles, vanished in a Lake Superior storm, perhaps upon striking the uncharted danger of the Superior Shoal in an otherwise deep part of the lake.

how deep is lake superior

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