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5 Great Lakes

Did you know that 21 percent of the total freshwater on the surface of our planet is stored in the 5 Great Lakes of North America?

The group of five freshwater lakes located at the northeastern border of the United States of America is referred to as the Great Lakes or Third Coast (colloquially though). The 5 Great Lakes span across the geographical boundaries of eight US states - namely Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, as well as the Canadian province of Quebec. In fact, the entire region of North America - including these eight US states and the Canadian province, is referred to as the Great Lakes Region.

5 Great Lakes Fact Sheet

The Great Lakes is the largest group of freshwater lakes on the planet, with a total surface area of 80,545 mi2 and total volume of 5,412 mi3. As we mentioned earlier, around 21 percent of the total freshwater available on the surface of our planet is stored in these five lakes - which makes them of great importance for the Great Lakes Region. More of such interesting facts about the geography of 5 great lakes of USA and Canada are given below.

What are the Names of the 5 Great Lakes?
The Great Lakes, with its 9,402 mi long shoreline, has a catchment area of 295,200 sq mi. Other than the five lakes, the Great Lakes Region also has several small lakes and around 35,000 small islands to its credit. The five major lakes, which are also referred to as the 5 Great Lakes of USA and Canada are Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Eerie and Lake Ontario.
Lake Superior is the largest of the five major lakes which are in the Great Lakes Region. It has a total surface area of 31,700 mi2, and total volume of 2,934 mi3. Lake Superior has an average depth 489 ft, with its deepest point at 1,335 ft.
Lake Huron is the second largest of the five Great Lakes, but has the longest shoreline of the five (including the 30,000 islands in it.) It has a total surface area of 22,973 mi2 and total volume of 850 mi3. While its average depth is 194 ft, the deepest point of lake Huron is 748 ft.
Lake Michigan is the third largest of the five Great Lakes with a total surface area of 22,278 mi2 and total volume of 1,180 mi3. The average depth of lake Michigan is 279 ft, while its maximum depth is 925 ft.
Lake Eerie comes fourth in terms of size in the list of 5 Great Lakes. This lake also holds the distinction of being the warmest as well as the shallowest lake (with average depth of 62 ft. and maximum depth of 210 ft) of the lot. Its total surface area is 9,906 mi2, while its total volume is 116 mi2.
Lake Ontario is the smallest of the five Great Lakes in North America, with a total surface area of 7,340 mi2. The total volume of this lake is 393 mi3. In terms of depth, Lake Ontario has an average depth of 282 ft and maximum depth of 804 ft.
Being two water bodies combined by the five mile wide Strait of Mackinac, Huron and Michigan are at times considered as a single water body and referred to as Lake Huron-Michigan. Going by this stipulation, Lake Huron-Michigan becomes the world`s largest freshwater lake with a total surface area of 45,300 mi2.

How Were the 5 Great Lakes Formed?
The five Great Lakes were formed during the last ice age when whole of Canada and parts of northern United States were covered by the Laurentide ice sheet. As the ice sheet started receding, it pushed against the land and made huge hollow spaces in the Earth`s crust. The water which was left behind as a result of glacier melting filled these hollow spaces and resulted in formation of the 5 Great Lakes of USA and Canada. That being said, some experts in the field of geology are of the opinion that the actual base for the formation of these lakes was laid billions of years ago - with the formation of the Midcontinent Rift as a result of tectonic movement.

If you were fascinated by this information on the Great Lakes, you should also go through:
Deepest Lake in the World
Largest Lake in the World
Those were some facts about the 5 Great Lakes of USA and Canada, which highlighted the physical attributes of this water body, and how they came into existence. Lake Champlain (located within the US territories) was included as the sixth lake in the Great Lakes by the US administration for a brief period of time, but canceled the decision following a huge outcry from the Canadian media. The existence of Great Lakes is a boon for various territories of the United States of America and Canada as it provides drinking water to scores of people from this region and also facilitates fishing and transportation of humans as well as goods in this region.


Name: Abhijit Naik, via Buzzle

Date: December 6th, 2010

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