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What Are The Five Great Lakes

The Great Lakes are a group of five major lakes situated in North America on or near the border between Canada and the United States. They are the biggest group of freshwater lakes found on Earth. It is believed that the Great Lakes- St. Lawrence system is the most extensive freshwater ecosystem in the world. They are often referred to as coastal seas.

These lakes, known as the great lakes

Lake Superior (the largest by volume, deepest, and larger than Scotland and South Carolina)

Lake Michigan (the second-largest by volume and the third-largest by surface; it is the sole lake that is entirely within the U.S.)

Lake Huron (the third-largest by volume; second-largest in terms of area)

Lake Erie (the smallest by volume and the shallowest)

Lake Ontario (the second-smallest in volume and terms of area, with a lower elevation than the other lakes)

Lakes Michigan and Huron, because they are hydrologically connected, can be thought of as one entity Lake Michigan and Huron. When taken together, Michigan-Huron will be bigger in space than Lake Superior but smaller in terms of the total volume of water.

A lesser-sized sixth lake Lake St. Clair makes up Lake St. Clair, which is part of the Great Lakes system between Lake Huron and Lake Erie but is not considered one part of the “Great Lakes.” This system includes rivers that link these Lakes: the St. Marys River between Lake Superior and Lake Huron as well, The St. Clair River between Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, and the Niagara River and Niagara Falls that lie located between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. (Lake Michigan is linked with Lake Huron through the Straits of Mackinac.) Numerous islands and a peninsula divide Lake Huron into the lake itself in the lake proper and Georgian Bay.


Although the five lakes are in distinct basins, they are one natural, interconnected body of fresh water in the Great Lakes Basin. As a series of rivers and lakes, they link the eastern-central region and the interior of North America to the Atlantic Ocean.

The total area of all five principal lakes is approximately equal to the area of the United Kingdom. In contrast, the total area of the basin (the lakes and the land they drain) is approximately the size of the U.K. and France together. 15 Lake Michigan is the only one of the Great Lakes located in the United States; the others create a water border with Canada and the United States and Canada.

Climate change and hydrology

It is important to note that the Great Lakes watershed is not a closed system of hydrologic processes. Humans have made indirect and direct diversions of water from the watershed. We use it for consumption, and the bulk of the water is absorbed into water from cooling towers in power plants. But, water is also taken out of the basin to canals in Chicago and Chicago, from where it can enter the Des Plaines River and Illinois River watersheds. Equally important to this out-diversion is the diversion of water entering this basin through the Hudson Bay watershed through Long Lake and the Ogoki River into Lake Superior. Diversions and other uses can affect the levels of water on the Great Lakes and, in so doing, could impact the possibility of hydroelectric power output from Niagara Falls. Levels of water are also a major concern for property owners who live along shorelines since high levels lead to erosion on beaches, while low levels pose a threat to vessels for pleasure and shipping operations on the shorelines.

The lakes significantly alter the climate in the region. They absorb significant heat during the warmer months and then emit it into the atmosphere in the cooler months. This leads to more humid winters and cooler summers than would normally occur within the area. Wintertime precipitation is much greater along the eastern shores of the lakes, resulting in an area of snow that is afflicting Erie, Pennsylvania, Buffalo, New York, Traverse City, Michigan, and similarly placed cities. Storms with brutal force can be observed across the lakes, particularly in the late autumn and early winter. The winds can be as strong as gale force speeds and cause waves 10 feet or greater in size. A large portion of surface water freezes in winter; however, large areas of open water are usually found in the middle of lakes.

The facts and figures on the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes are, from west to east: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. They constitute a major part of North America’s cultural and physical history.

Sharing a border with Canada and spanning over 775 miles (1,200 kilometers) from east to west, the vast freshwater inland seas supply water for consumption for transportation, power, and recreation, as well as a myriad of other purposes.

The Great Lakes are one of the largest freshwater surface ecosystems.

84 percent of North America’s surface freshwater

approximately 21% of the surface freshwater supply in the world. water.

Physical Features of the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes Atlas Third Edition 1995 is available through NSCEP, the U.S. EPA’s publication service.

Great Lakes Map

Where are the Great Lakes? This Great Lakes photograph shows their locations and position relative to one another. Lake Superior is the northernmost lake in the chain and is also the largest of the Great Lakes. Lake Michigan is the only one of the lakes not connected to Canada.

Plus: Lake Erie has a Loch Ness-like sea monster.

Lake Erie is allegedly home to Bessie, a sea monster-like animal that was seen repeatedly over the years. The Cleveland baseball team, the Lake Erie Monsters – was named in honor of this legend.

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