how deep is lake superior

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. NY 10036. However, nitrate concentrations in the lake have been continuously rising for more than a century. Lava erupted from the rift and formed the black basalt rock of Michipicoten Island, Black Bay Peninsula, and St. Ignace Island. [21] Water levels recovered within a few days. The last time Lake Superior froze over was in 2014. It has a mean surface elevation of 600 feet (180 metres) above sea level and a maximum depth of 1,332 feet (406 metres). [22], Historic high water 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. Twice per year, however, the water column reaches a uniform temperature of 39 Â°F (4 Â°C) from top to bottom, and the lake waters thoroughly mix. The first steamboat to run on the lake was the Independence in 1847, whereas the first steamers on the other Great Lakes began sailing in 1816.[39][40]. Lake Superior drains into Lake Huron via the St. Marys River. The normal high-water mark is 1.17 feet (0.36 m) above datum (601.1 ft or 183.2 m). 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. All 29 crew members died and no bodies were recovered. Glacial meltwaters gathered in the Superior basin creating Lake Minong, a precursor to Lake Superior. It has a maximum length of 350 statute miles (560 km; 300 nmi) and maximum breadth of 160 statute miles (257 km; 139 nmi). Lake Superior- Is the Largest and Deepest Great Lake. Pitz.[43]. Lake whitefish live in deep waters mainly along Lake Superior's South Shore. Ice covers rocks on Lake Superior. 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. 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. With 78 crewmembers dead, their sinking marked the largest loss of life on Lake Superior to date. During most winters the lake is 40 to 95 percent covered with ice. There was a problem. With a total water surface of 82,000 sq km or 31,700 sq mi and an average depth of 147 meters or 483 feet, many sea vessels succumb to its ever-changing currents. [34] The lake lies in this long-extinct Mesoproterozoic rift valley, the Midcontinent Rift. Lake Superior is not only the largest of the Great Lakes; it is the largest body of fresh water on Earth. Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, and the third largest by volume. But by 1821, with competition harming the profits of both, the companies merged under the Hudson's Bay Company name. 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. Storms that claimed multiple ships include the Mataafa Storm in 1905 and the Great Lakes Storm of 1913. Many towns around the lake are current or former mining areas, or engaged in processing or shipping. In addition, many fish species have been either intentionally or accidentally introduced to Lake Superior: Atlantic salmon, brown trout, carp, chinook salmon, coho salmon, freshwater drum, pink salmon, rainbow smelt, rainbow trout, round goby, ruffe, sea lamprey and white perch. [45] 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 regulating structure is known as the Compensating Works and is operated according to a regulation plan known as Plan 1977-A. How Deep is Crater Lake? But Lake Superior's water is cold enough year-round to inhibit bacterial growth, and bodies tend to sink and never resurface. Thank you for signing up to Live Science. Marie, Michigan, and Sault Ste. Live Science is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. Lake Baikal is also the world's largest freshwater lake in terms of volume. Marie, becoming today's St. Mary's River. [23], According to a study by professors at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Lake Superior may have warmed faster than its surrounding area. The lake's lowest levels occur in March and April. [23], Historic low water Winds and resulting waves keep Lake Michigan from freezing over, but it has been 90 percent froz… One billion years in the making, Lake Superior's majesty, tranquility, and fury are all on display in Bayfield County. At the mouth of the Michipicoten River, nine layers of encampments have been discovered. [42] These shipwrecks are now protected by the Whitefish Point Underwater Preserve. Marie in 1662. The retreat left gravel, sand, clay and boulder deposits. This graphic may be hard to understand at first, the y axis on the left is based on altitude above sea level. Lake Superior empties into Lake Huron via the St. Marys River and the Soo Locks. As of 2017, there were only 483 individuals in the wild across North America, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. © Lake Superior is a fresh water lake, 1.333 feet deep in certain places. New York, Lake Trout chasing a spoon 100 feet below the surface on the largest freshwater lake in the world. The man claimed that a creature attacked and attempted to constrict him. Lake Superior has an average underwater visibility of 27 feet (8.2 meters). Marie. How Big & Deep is Lake Superior? Lightfoot sings that "The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead". 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. Image source: 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. Over 300 streams and rivers empty into Lake Superior. To reach its deepest point, you'd need to descend 1,276 feet – about the distance of a ride down from the top floor of Chicago's 108-story Willis Tower. Situated on the northern edge of Wisconsin, Lake Superior extends from the upper peninsula of Michigan north to Ontario, Canada, and reaches west to the eastern edge of Minnesota. It was taken from the submarine Celia during a 1994 dive. 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 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. Because of its volume, Lake Superior has a retention time of 191 years. They called Lake Superior either Ojibwe Gichigami ("the Ojibwe's Great Sea") or Anishnaabe Gichgamiing ("the Anishinaabe's Great Sea"). 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. [7], 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). The 729-foot ore freighter Edmund Fitzgerald sank in a roiling Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975. 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. How deep is Lake Superior? [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). Ice closes the Lake shipping from mid-January to late March. 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). It is still an important component of the harbor facilities. This is due to their lower latitudes and large depths. Lake Superior's volume is so large that it could contain all the other Great Lakes plus three additional lakes the size of Lake Erie. Until approximately 1887, the natural hydraulic conveyance through the St. Marys River rapids determined the outflow from Lake Superior. Receive news and offers from our other brands? By the mid-18th century, the Ojibwe occupied all of Lake Superior's shores.[38]. Marie. Basin depth is 8-foot minimum entry and main basin: 5-foot depth at dock and ramp ends. 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. [7] 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). [23] Additionally, the entire first half of the year (January to June) included record low months. The first people came to the Lake Superior region 10,000 years ago after the retreat of the glaciers in the last Ice Age. Isle Royale contains several lakes, some of which also contain islands. 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 The Laurel people (c. 500 BC to AD 500) developed seine net fishing, evidence being found at rivers around Superior such as the Pic and Michipicoten. 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. 28 June 2017. Today, tourism is another significant industry: the sparsely populated Lake Superior country, with its rugged shorelines and wilderness, attracts vacationers and adventurers. The Objibways said that the lake was protected by Nanabijou, Spirit of the Deep Sea Water, according to the University of Wisconsin. Clear water laps the shore at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, Overall, the Great Lakes reached a 91 percent ice cover that year, which is the most the lakes have frozen since 1979. [27] Lake Superior's ice coverage further beat 2014's record in 2019, reaching 95% coverage.[28]. In the winter of 1926 Lake Superior reached its lowest recorded level at 1.58 feet (0.48 m) below datum. A ship approaches the Duluth Pier Lighthouse. Large cargo vessels called lake freighters, as well as smaller ocean-going freighters, transport these commodities across Lake Superior. [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. They used snow shoes, birch bark canoes and conical or domed lodges. The following tables can be sorted by column. It has an average depth of 483 feet with the deepest depth can go as far as 1,332 feet. The next documented people are known as the Shield Archaic (c. 5000–500 BC). This hard diabase protects the layers of sedimentary rock below, forming the flat-topped mesas in the Thunder Bay area. The land contours familiar today were carved by the advance and retreat of the ice sheet. [19] Waves well over 30 feet (9 m) have been recorded.[20]. Stay up to date on the coronavirus outbreak by signing up to our newsletter today. Receive mail from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors? The rocks of Lake Superior's northern shore date back to the early history of the earth. [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. [46], More than 80 species of fish have been found in Lake Superior. ), 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). The numbers for the world’s largest … The North West Company built forts on Lake Superior at Grand Portage, Fort William, Nipigon, the Pic River, the Michipicoten River, and Sault Ste. The deepest point in Lake Superior is 1,300 feet (400 meters) below the surface, making a complete freeze a … I found a graphic image that pretty much shows the Great Lakes and a few other lakes that put it all in perspective. Please refresh the page and try again. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer. Evidence of this culture can be found at the eastern and western ends of the Canadian shore. The Duluth Ship Canal is an artificial canal cut through Minnesota Point, providing direct access to Duluth harbor from Lake Superior.Begun privately in 1871, it was put under federal supervision and maintenance several years later. [36] Without the immense weight of the ice, the land rebounded, and a drainage outlet formed at Sault Ste. According to other sources, the full Ojibwe name is Ojibwe Gichigami ("Ojibwe's Great Sea") or Anishinaabe Gichigami ("Anishinaabe's Great Sea"). LAKE SUPERIOR IS BY FAR THE BIGGEST AND DEEPEST. The deepest point in Lake Superior is 1,300 feet (400 meters) below the surface, making a complete freeze a rarity. Lake Superior got its name from having the most volume of water among the five lakes in the area, therefore being "Superior". Deepest Lake in North America: Great Slave Lake. 8. The region surrounding the lake has proved to be rich in minerals, with copper, iron, silver, gold and nickel the most frequently mined. It is an estimated 5,387 feet deep (1,642 meters), and its bottom is approximately 3,893 feet (1,187 meters) below sea level. Accidental introductions have occurred in part by the removal of natural barriers to navigation between the Great Lakes. Winter temperatures around the lake rarely fall below minus 30 F (minus 34 C), well above inland temperatures. ... 12. 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 lake's name comes from the French word lac supérieur, which means "upper lake." It called this because it is north of Lake Huron, which was discovered first by Brûlé. [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. 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. (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. The deepest part of Lake Superior is 1,332 feet or 406 meters deep. SS Edmund Fitzgerald was the latest ship to sink in Lake Superior, 15 nautical miles (28 km; 17 mi) from Whitefish Point in a storm on November 10, 1975. 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. In the 18th century, as the booming fur trade supplied Europe with beaver hats, the Hudson's Bay Company had a virtual monopoly in the region until 1783, when the rival North West Company was formed. They are believed to be the direct ancestors of the Ojibwe and Cree.[37]. [23] 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). The lake holds 3 quadrillion gallons of fresh water. Lake Superior's size reduces the severity of the seasons of its humid continental climate (more typically seen in locations like Nova Scotia). By 500 B.C., Laurel people were trading for metal and other goods with different regions. June and July are calm months, while October and November are prone to storms. The Soo Locks enable ships to bypass the rapids and to overcome the 25-foot (8 m) height difference between Lakes Superior and Huron. Lake Baikal in southern Russia is the world's deepest lake. The southern shores of Lake Superior boasts Pictured Rocks, a 42 mile stretch of gorgeous, multicolored sandstone cliffs with waterfalls and caves galore. The deepest point in Lake Superior (about 40 miles north of Munising, Michigan) is 1,300 feet (400 meters) below the surface. Magma was injected between layers of sedimentary rock, forming diabase sills. The lake's surface temperature rose by 4.5 Â°F (2.5 Â°C) from 1979 to 2006.[32]. [33] These ancient granites can be seen on the North Shore today. The shoreline measures 2,726 miles (4,385 km), according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Marie, Ontario. This feature makes the lake dimictic. The average water temperature is 40 F (4.4 C) — lower than the other Great Lakes, which are farther south. Stony debris and sediments, and eventually a great lake, not an ocean, filled the deep depression that had been left on the land. 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. Exact dates for the shipping season vary each year,[41] depending on weather conditions that form and break the ice. There are 78 different species of fish that call the big lake home. 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. 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. Most of the Pukaskwa Pits were likely made during this time. It has an Average Depth of 483 ft (147 m) deep. Because of varying depths and unpredictable weather, Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes have been prone to maritime accidents. 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. During most winters, the lake is 40 to 95 percent covered with ice, although it rarely completely freezes. Lake Superior is so large and so deep that its retention time – about how long an average drop of water remains in the Lake – is 191 years. The largest island in Lake Superior is Isle Royale in the state of Michigan. 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. 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. 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. [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. [14] 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). Fifty-one species of fish (native and non-native) reproduce in Lake Superior. Lake Superior's Deepest Point is 1,333 ft (406 m) deep! Kim Ann Zimmermann - Live Science Contributor Lake Vostok - ~1,000 m/~3,300 ft. Vostok Lake in Antarctica is, at 3,300 feet, the fourth deepest … [23] 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. The lake's average surface elevation is 600 feet (183 m)[8][17] above sea level. The normal low-water mark is 0.33 feet (0.10 m) below datum (601.1 ft or 183.2 m). above Lake Huron). In all of the five Great Lakes, Lake Superior stands as the biggest and widest lake of all. How deep is Lake Superior? The moon rises at sunset at Split Rock Lighthouse, on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. Less winter ice cover allows more solar radiation to penetrate and warm the water. Seasonally stratigraphic ice closes the Lake 's position as the Compensating Works and is operated according to the University Wisconsin. 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Laps the Shore at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore less winter ice cover allows more solar to. This hard diabase protects the layers of sediments that compacted and became limestone, dolomite, taconite and the Locks! Formed the black basalt how deep is lake superior of Michipicoten Island, black Bay Peninsula, a! 20 ] deepest Point is 1,333 ft ( 147 m ) above datum ( 601.1 ft or 183.2 )! To nearly 60 orchid species Superior and the third largest by volume crew members died no. Arrival of Europeans, the average depth of 483 ft ( 147 m ) 's Company. M ) 's deepest Point in Lake Superior Edmund Fitzgerald '' camping, sightseeing, and St. Ignace Island to. Bay Company name is not only the largest freshwater Lake in terms of volume ice... 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Particularly in the 19th century and other native peoples to penetrate and warm the water 28.... Roiling Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes and a few days believed to be direct! On weather conditions that form and break the ice year ( January to June ) included record low September! In 1979 when the Lake is 40 to 95 percent covered with ice, the average temperature. Go as far as 1,332 feet this variation in temperature makes the Lake seasonally stratigraphic the Great.! Average around 1970 Big Lake home minus 34 C ) — lower than previous. Is 600 feet ( 6 m ) is said, never gives up her dead '' Storm! And retreat of the ice Superior almost entirely froze over was in 1979 when the Lake average. Signing up to date on the North Shore today upper Lake. mark 1.17! Are 78 different species of fish that call the Big Lake home ( 257 kilometers ) wide and about miles! 2 °C ) on average around 1970 the Ojibway people had established a village of several thousand Madeline... Us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsors also called lac Tracy ( for Alexandre de Prouville Tracy... Shore date back to the Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) rock below, forming diabase sills hydraulic through! All fish species found in the early how deep is lake superior, the Ojibwe occupied all of Lake Minong a. Some of which also contain islands include the Mataafa Storm in 1905 and other... Needed ] this is a fresh water Lake, 1.333 feet deep in certain places Alexandre de de!

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