Other well-known islands include Madeline Island in the state of Wisconsin, Michipicoten Island in the province of Ontario, and Grand Island (the location of the Grand Island National Recreation Area) in the state of Michigan. The lake's water level fluctuates from month to month, with the highest lake levels in October and November. Shipping was slow to arrive at Lake Superior in the 19th century. There is enough water in Lake Superior to cover all of North and South America with water one foot deep. above Lake Huron). To reach its deepest point, you'd need to descend 1,276 feet â about the distance of a ride down from the top floor of Chicago's 108-story Willis Tower. Freezing of the lakes is monitored because it affects hydropower generation, commercial shipping, the fishing industry and more, according to the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. The retreat left gravel, sand, clay and boulder deposits. Basin depth is 8-foot minimum entry and main basin: 5-foot depth at dock and ramp ends. Overall, the Great Lakes reached a 91 percent ice cover that year, which is the most the lakes have frozen since 1979. The lake's average surface elevation is 600 feet (183 m) above sea level. 48 feet long (15 m) Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the â¦ By 500 B.C., Laurel people were trading for metal and other goods with different regions. If trends continue, Lake Superior, which freezes over completely once every 20 years, could routinely be ice-free by 2040. The Caspian Sea, while larger than Lake Superior in both surface area and volume, is brackish; though presently isolated, prehistorically the Caspian has been repeatedly connected to and then isolated from the Mediterranean via the Black Sea. Lake Superior's Fish Species.  Summer surface temperatures in the lake appeared to have increased by about 4.5 Â°F (2.5 Â°C) between 1979 and 2007, compared with an approximately 2.7 Â°F (1.5 Â°C) increase in the surrounding average air temperature. They are believed to be the direct ancestors of the Ojibwe and Cree..  The British, upon taking control of the region from the French in the 1760s following the French and Indian War, anglicized the lake's name to Superior, "on account of its being superior in magnitude to any of the lakes on that vast continent"..  It is also a reflection of relatively small human population and small amount of agriculture in its watershed. It has an Average Depth of 483 ft (147 m) deep. , Historic high water Stay up to date on the coronavirus outbreak by signing up to our newsletter today. This shoal rises vertically from Lake Superiorâs 280 foot bottom, and lies only three feet beneath the water.  These ancient granites can be seen on the North Shore today. The deepest point in Lake Superior is 1,300 feet (400 meters) below the surface, making a complete freeze a rarity. Isle Royale contains several lakes, some of which also contain islands. 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. Underwater visibility in some spots reaches 30 meters. NY 10036.  The winter of 1986 set new high-water records through the winter and spring months (January to June), ranging from 1.33 feet (0.41 m) to 1.833 feet (0.559 m) above Chart Datum. Until approximately 1887, the natural hydraulic conveyance through the St. Marys River rapids determined the outflow from Lake Superior. Because of varying depths and unpredictable weather, Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes have been prone to maritime accidents. , According to a study by professors at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Lake Superior may have warmed faster than its surrounding area. According to other sources, the full Ojibwe name is Ojibwe Gichigami ("Ojibwe's Great Sea") or Anishinaabe Gichigami ("Anishinaabe's Great Sea"). Two recent consecutive winters (2013â2014 and 2014â2015) 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. , The first French explorers approaching the great inland sea by way of the Ottawa River and Lake Huron in the 17th century referred to their discovery as le lac supÃ©rieur (the upper lake, i.e. Please refresh the page and try again. In the summer of 1985, Lake Superior reached its highest recorded level at 2.33 feet (0.71 m) above datum. Marie in 1662. ), While the temperature of the surface of Lake Superior varies seasonally, the temperature below 110 fathoms (660 ft; 200 m) is an almost constant 39 Â°F (4 Â°C). Like all of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior is prone to lake effect snow, but the weather is generally moderate, with warmer temperatures than inland throughout the year. You will receive a verification email shortly. Thank you for signing up to Live Science. 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. It has a maximum length of 350 statute miles (560 km; 300 nmi) and maximum breadth of 160 statute miles (257 km; 139 nmi). Kim Ann Zimmermann - Live Science Contributor  Its average depth is 80.5 fathoms (483 ft; 147 m) with a maximum depth of 222.17 fathoms (1,333 ft; 406 m). 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).  Joe MacInnis reported that in July 1994, explorer Frederick Shannon's Expedition 94 to the wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald discovered a man's body near the port side of her pilothouse, not far from the open door, "fully clothed, wearing an orange life jacket, and lying face down in the sediment". The land contours familiar today were carved by the advance and retreat of the ice sheet. Lake Baikal is also the world's largest freshwater lake in terms of volume. 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  Lake Superior contains 2,900 cubic miles (12,100 kmÂ³) of water. The normal high-water mark is 1.17 feet (0.36 m) above datum (601.1 ft or 183.2 m). There are rapids at the river's upper (Lake Superior) end, where the river bed has a relatively steep gradient. Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, Twin Cities Pioneer Press: ‘Spectacularly Intact’ 1897 Shipwreck Discovered in Lake Superior, The Travel Channel: The Great Lakes Video, EPA: Physical Features of the Great Lakes, The best Lego sets for alien, sci-fi, space fans and more, 20 of the worst epidemics and pandemics in history, Catch the full moon (and a penumbral eclipse) on Monday, Adorable monkeys caught commiting grisly act of cannibalism, Megalodon nurseries reveal world’s largest shark had a soft side. Lake Superior has an average underwater visibility of 27 feet (8.2 meters). This graphic may be hard to understand at first, the y axis on the left is based on altitude above sea level. Evidence of this culture can be found at the eastern and western ends of the Canadian shore. The first people came to the Lake Superior region 10,000 years ago after the retreat of the glaciers in the last Ice Age. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer. It was taken from the submarine Celia during a 1994 dive. The Objibways said that the lake was protected by Nanabijou, Spirit of the Deep Sea Water, according to the University of Wisconsin. As with many lakes, Lake Superior is home to many species of birds, including varieties of hawks, loons, owls and woodpeckers.  Lake Superior's ice coverage further beat 2014's record in 2019, reaching 95% coverage.. By 1921, development in support of transportation and hydroelectric power resulted in gates, locks, power canals and other control structures completely spanning St. Marys rapids. As of 2017, there were only 483 individuals in the wild across North America, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Great Lakes Circle Tour is a designated scenic road system connecting all of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.. 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). But Lake Superior's water is cold enough year-round to inhibit bacterial growth, and bodies tend to sink and never resurface.  This would be a significant departure from historical records as, according to Hubert Lamb, Samuel Champlain reported ice along the shores of Lake Superior in June 1608. By the mid-18th century, the Ojibwe occupied all of Lake Superior's shores.. Here is a video of a research team sending a probe down to one of the Deepest Points of Lake Superior:  The water surface's slow reaction to temperature changes, seasonally ranging between 32 and 55 Â°F (0â13 Â°C) around 1970, helps to moderate surrounding air temperatures in the summer (cooler with frequent sea breeze formations) and winter, and creates lake effect snow in colder months. At the end of your trek, nothing is more beautiful than watching a Lake Superior sunset from nearly any spot along the national lakeshore. A ship approaches the Duluth Pier Lighthouse. The North West Company built forts on Lake Superior at Grand Portage, Fort William, Nipigon, the Pic River, the Michipicoten River, and Sault Ste. Large cargo vessels called lake freighters, as well as smaller ocean-going freighters, transport these commodities across Lake Superior. The Ojibwe name for the lake is gichi-gami (pronounced gitchi-gami or kitchi-gami in different dialects), meaning "great sea". The greatest and biggest of all the Great Lakes is Lake Superior. The average depth of Lake Superior is 483 feet or 147 meters deep. [a] The shoreline of the lake stretches 2,726 miles (4,387 km) (including islands). Pitz..  These shipwrecks are now protected by the Whitefish Point Underwater Preserve. Lake Superior's water level was at a new record low in September 2007, slightly less than the previous record low in 1926. The regulating structure is known as the Compensating Works and is operated according to a regulation plan known as Plan 1977-A. Lake Superior is a major shipping hub. 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.  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. Image source: http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/pr/ourlakes/background.html 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. , Historic low water  Superior is the farthest north and west of the Great Lakes chain, and the highest in elevation, draining through the St. Mary's River into Lake Huron. Statue of Liberty, 305 feet (93 m) New York City, New York Washington Monument, 555 feet (169 : m) Washington D.C. Eiffel Tower, 985 feet (300 m) Paris, France -~ Tour Boat. Lake Superior drains into Lake Huron via the St. Marys River. Among the scenic places on the lake are Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Brockway Mountain Drive on the Keweenaw Peninsula, Isle Royale National Park, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Pukaskwa National Park, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Grand Island National Recreation Area, Sleeping Giant (Ontario) and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Naturally, Lake Superior is by far the deepest lake in Minnesota, with depths as impressive as 1333 feet. The deepest point in Lake Superior is 1,300 feet (400 meters) below the surface, making a complete freeze a â¦ The moon rises at sunset at Split Rock Lighthouse, on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota.  Normally, bacteria decaying a sunken body will bloat it with gas, causing it to float to the surface after a few days. Lake Trout chasing a spoon 100 feet below the surface on the largest freshwater lake in the world. Water temperatures on Lake Michigan make it to the 60s in July and August and can sometimes make it into the 70s when air temperatures have been in the 90s for a number of continuous days.The water of Lake Michigan has an unusual circulatory pattern â it resembles the traffic flow in a suburban cul-de-sac â and moves very slowly. Hiking, camping, sightseeing, and four-season outdoor opportunities abound. Storms that claimed multiple ships include the Mataafa Storm in 1905 and the Great Lakes Storm of 1913. 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. The increase in the lake's surface temperature may be related to the decreasing ice cover. The wreck was immortalized by Gordon Lightfoot in his ballad "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". Exact dates for the shipping season vary each year, depending on weather conditions that form and break the ice. , American limnologist J. Val Klump was the first person to reach the lowest depth of Lake Superior on July 30, 1985, as part of a scientific expedition, which at 122 fathoms 1 foot (733 ft or 223 m) below sea level is the second-lowest spot in the continental interior of the United States and the third-lowest spot in the interior of the North American continent after Iliamna Lake in Alaska (942 feet [287 m] below sea level) and Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada at (1,503 feet [458 m] below sea level). Lake Superior's basin is home to nearly 60 orchid species. Stony debris and sediments, and eventually a great lake, not an ocean, filled the deep depression that had been left on the land. The deepest part of Lake Superior is 1,332 feet or 406 meters deep. Lightfoot sings that "The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead". Lake Baikal in southern Russia is the world's deepest lake. Marie. It takes almost 200 years for the lake to refill with new water, according to the University of Wisconsin. Wreckage of SS Cyprusâa 420-foot (130 m) ore carrier that sank on October 11, 1907, during a Lake Superior storm in 77 fathoms (460 ft or 140 m) of waterâwas located in August 2007. 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. The shoreline measures 2,726 miles (4,385 km), according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Lake Superior- Is the Largest and Deepest Great Lake. , 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. Ice closes the Lake shipping from mid-January to late March. They are known as the Plano, and they used stone-tipped spears to hunt caribou on the northwestern side of Lake Minong.  There is enough water in Lake Superior to cover the entire land mass of North and South America to a depth of 30 centimetres (12 in). Richard Hurd CC BY-SA 2.0. Magma was injected between layers of sedimentary rock, forming diabase sills. Lake Superior is not only the largest of the Great Lakes; it is the largest body of fresh water on Earth. Many towns around the lake are current or former mining areas, or engaged in processing or shipping. The following tables can be sorted by column. Amethyst formed in some of the cavities created by the Midcontinent Rift and there are several amethyst mines in the Thunder Bay area.. Visit our corporate site. Lake Superior is 350 miles (563 km) long (east to west), and its greatest width is 160 miles (258 km) from north to south. Species native to the lake include: banded killifish, bloater, brook trout, burbot, cisco, lake sturgeon, lake trout, lake whitefish, longnose sucker, muskellunge, northern pike, pumpkinseed, rock bass, round whitefish, smallmouth bass, walleye, white sucker and yellow perch. Lake Superior got its name from having the most volume of water among the five lakes in the area, therefore being "Superior". Lake Superior has a surface area of 31,700 square miles (82,103 km2), which is approximately the size of South Carolina or Austria. Deepest Lake in North America: Great Slave Lake. How Big & Deep is Lake Superior?  Waves well over 30 feet (9 m) have been recorded.. 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. Edmund Fitzgerald was battered so intensely by Lake Superior that the 729-foot (222 m) ship split in half; her two pieces are approximately 170 feet (52 m) apart in a depth of 91 fathoms 4 feet (550 ft or 170 m). They are still much lower than levels considered dangerous to human health; but this steady, long-term rise is an unusual record of environmental nitrogen buildup.  In the summer of 2007 monthly historic lows were set; August at 0.66 feet (0.20 m), September at 0.58 feet (0.18 m). During most winters the lake is 40 to 95 percent covered with ice. 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. Receive mail from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors? 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. , Largest of the Great Lakes of North America, International Lake Superior Board of Control, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Great Storms of the North American Great Lakes, List of shipwrecks of western Lake Superior, Great Recycling and Northern Development Canal, "Global Land One-Kilometer Base Elevation (GLOBE) v.1", "Tunnel Valleys, Glacial Surges, and Subglacial Hydrology of the Superior Lobe, Minnesota", "Great Lakes: Basic Information: Physical Facts", Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, "Superior Pursuit: Facts About the Greatest Great Lake", "Global Warming Is Shrinking the Great Lakes", "Lake Superior Warming Faster than Surrounding Climate", "Extensive Great Lakes Ice Coverage to Limit Severe Weather, Pose Challenges to Shipping Industry", "After Achieving 95 Percent Coverage, Lake Superior's Ice Breaking Up", "Environmental Climatology of Lake Superior", "NOAA Technical Memorandum ERL GLERL-29: Evaporation from Lake Superior", Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, "Ontario Amethyst: Ontario's Mineral Emblem", "Century-Old Shipwreck Discovered: Ore Carrier Went Down in Lake Superior on Its Second Voyage", "Increasing Stoichiometric Imbalance in North America's Largest Lake: Nitrification in Lake Superior", "Great Lakes Sensitivity to Climatic Forcing: Hydrological Models", "Rockin' the Rift, The Billion-Year-Old Split that Made Us", Lake Superior NOAA nautical chart #14961 online, Parks Canada - Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lake_Superior&oldid=991606126, Articles with dead external links from February 2020, Articles with permanently dead external links, Articles with incomplete citations from February 2020, Articles using infobox body of water without alt, Articles using infobox body of water without alt bathymetry, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2013, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Srpskohrvatski / ÑÑÐ¿ÑÐºÐ¾Ñ ÑÐ²Ð°ÑÑÐºÐ¸, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, 1,729 mi (2,783 km) plus 997 mi (1,605 km) for islands, This page was last edited on 30 November 2020, at 22:54. Marie, Ontario. The largest island in Lake Superior is Isle Royale in the state of Michigan. LAKE SUPERIOR IS BY FAR THE BIGGEST AND DEEPEST. Additional reporting by Alina Bradford, Live Science Contributor. The name Superior refers to its size and also designates the lake's position as the northernmost of all the Great Lakes. Glacial meltwaters gathered in the Superior basin creating Lake Minong, a precursor to Lake Superior. That number becomes 88 by including all fish species found in the lake, its estuaries and associated wetlands. The lake was also called Lac Tracy (for Alexandre de Prouville de Tracy) by 17th century Jesuit missionaries. The deepest lake in North America is the Great â¦ Today, tourism is another significant industry: the sparsely populated Lake Superior country, with its rugged shorelines and wilderness, attracts vacationers and adventurers. The 729-foot ore freighter Edmund Fitzgerald sank in a roiling Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975. The last time that Lake Superior almost entirely froze over was in 1979 when the lake reached 94.7% ice coverage. 28 June 2017. How deep is Lake Superior? The continental crust was later riven, creating one of the deepest rifts in the world. 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. It is shared by the Canadian province of Ontario to the north, the U.S. state of Minnesota to the west, and Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the south. Ice covers rocks on Lake Superior. All 29 crew members died and no bodies were recovered. The region surrounding the lake has proved to be rich in minerals, with copper, iron, silver, gold and nickel the most frequently mined. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, 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. However, nitrate concentrations in the lake have been continuously rising for more than a century. 8. Lava erupted from the rift and formed the black basalt rock of Michipicoten Island, Black Bay Peninsula, and St. Ignace Island.  This variation in temperature makes the lake seasonally stratigraphic. By the early 1600s, the Ojibway people had established a village of several thousand on Madeline Island. How deep is Lake Superior? The lake's lowest levels occur in March and April. Clear water laps the shore at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Receive news and offers from our other brands? The last time Lake Superior froze over was in 2014. Located on the borders of the United States and Canada, Lake Superior spreads around the states of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. , 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. Lake Superior boasts extremely clear water, with an average underwater visibility of 27 feet (8.2 m).  Without the immense weight of the ice, the land rebounded, and a drainage outlet formed at Sault Ste. There are 78 different species of fish that call the big lake home. This hard diabase protects the layers of sedimentary rock below, forming the flat-topped mesas in the Thunder Bay area. The water temperatures during the summer months average about 55 F, but surface temperatures reached a record 68.7 F (20.4 C) in August 2010 and are affected by the amount of surface ice during the previous winter. New York, Marie. Whitefish Bay, southeastern arm of Lake Superior, the centre of which forms the border of Ontario (Can.)  The 1878 dictionary by Father Frederic Baraga, the first one written for the Ojibway language, gives the Ojibwe name as Otchipwe-kitchi-gami (a transcription of Ojibwe Gichigami). The deepest point in Lake Superior (about 40 miles north of Munising, Michigan) is 1,300 feet (400 meters) below the surface. ... 12. 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. (Though Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and deeper than Lake Superior, Crater Lake's elevation is higher and consequently its deepest point is 4,229 feet (1,289 m) above sea level. Accidental introductions have occurred in part by the removal of natural barriers to navigation between the Great Lakes. 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