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Crystal-Clear Water

Weather

Early Settlers

Life in the Lake

Tourism

 

Lake Superior is the largest of all the Great Lakes in North America and also considered the biggest freshwater lake by surface area in the world.  It borders the US states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Canada.

Just raising the water level in Lake Superior by merely an inch will require 551 billion gallons of water. Its surface area measures 31,700 square miles (82,100 square kilometers), it’s roughly the size of Maine. Lake Superior holds at least 10% of the surface fresh water in the world. With 3 quadrillion gallons, it is enough to put both the North and South America under a foot of water. The deepest point in the lake goes as far as 1,276 feet – the distance is about the height of Chicago’s 108 stories Willis Tower.

 

Crystal-Clear Water

Has Lake Superior completely frozen over? Because of the depth of almost 400 meters below the surface, it makes a complete freeze a rarity. But a complete freeze does happen. Lake Superior freezes over once in every two decades.  The last time the lake froze over was back in 2014. It is important to monitor the freezing of the lake because it will greatly affect commercial shipping, fishing industry, hydropower generation and more, according to the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.

But if climate change continues, the lake could be ice-free by 2040.  The lake boasts of clear water with an underwater visibility of an average 27 feet or 8.2 meters deep. According to the University of Wisconsin, it will take more than 200 years for the lake to refill with new water.

 

Weather

The water temperature is prone to lake effect snow, but the weather is generally moderate, with warmer temperatures than inland throughout the year. Winter temperatures around the lake rarely fall below minus 30 F, well above inland temperatures. Although it rarely completely freezes, during most winters, Lake Superior is 40% to 95% covered with ice.

Weather is the state of the atmosphere with respect to current temperature, precipitation, wind, and cloudiness. Lake Superior vastness can greatly affect weather known as the “lake effect”. The lake shoreline temperature can be noticeably warmer in winter and much cooler during summer. Due to water is slower to absorb and release heat than the land.

This lake effect can also brew some treacherous storms comparable to hurricane size storms. This is because of the added moisture and wind speed passing over the lake. During winter times, Michigan is one of the states that greatly affected by the lake effect. The state can be buried under six times more snow than Duluth.

In summer, a dome of high pressure can form over the lake pushing when low pressure approaching storms of the southeast. The dangerous Gales of November occur in autumn, along with some violent storm when low-pressure systems pass over the lake. Wind speeds can easily reach 50 mph and gusts can exceed 1001 mph. fogs forms when temperature and dew point differ by less than 4 degrees F. As the moisture in the warm air condenses over the colder surface waters, advection of fog rolls into lake coastal communities. Sea smokes occurs when cold air moves relatively warmer water during winter.

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Lake Superior’s Early Settlers

About 1.2 billion years ago, Lake Superior started to form because of the North American Mid-Continent Rift. Shaped like an arc, it stretches from Kansas all the way to Minnesota. According to the History of Lake Superior, the first settlers in the lake arrived around 8000 B.C. just after the glaciers melted. The Laurel people known for trading metal and other goods arrived around 500 B.C. Not until in the 1600s when the Ojibwe tribe had established a village on Madeline Island.

Lake Superior has a very rich history that started hundreds of years ago.  The Ojibwe and Chippewa Indians settle along the shorelines of the lake and learn how to fish. They build birch bark canoes and used nets crafted out from the willow strands. Most of the early settlers in the lake fish in order to survive. However, when the European arrived, they introduced commercial fishing during the 1820’s. They used big ships and huge nets to catch as many fishes as possible using minimize efforts.

Some species of fish residing the lake started to decline in 1880’s and then again the business began to boom with the use of modern equipment to catch fish.  Unfortunately, in 1950’s the whitefish began to decline because of overfishing, along with pollution. The introduction of external invasive species greatly contributed to the decline of the fish species in the lake, thus affecting the fishing industry.

 

Life in and Around Lake Superior

It is a home to about 80 species of fish, including carp and varieties of trout, salmon, and perch.  The fishes found in Lake Superior are rich in omega 3 because the lake is very cold and deep. A local fisherman called Whitefishes as Humpback because their heads are smaller than the length of their bodies. Humpbacks also have silvery to white in color and have olive to light greenish brown back, with forked tails. They eat smaller animals that lived at the bottom of the lake, nearer to the seafloor.

Adult whitefish eat small fishes as well as amphipods, snails, and shrimps. Young whitefish, on the other hand, eat microscopic animals and larvae as they are small and are not able to eat what their adults consume. Superior’s shallow water temperature falls below 7 degrees Celsius, the whitefish start laying eggs at night over small rocks near the shores of the lakes, it comes up to the water surface and releases eggs and sperm. Around 10,000 eggs are laid by the whitefish which hatch early spring season.

Lake Superior houses several native plant species like the state tree of Michigan.  During the 1900’s the non-native species like the rainbow trout and brown trout were intentionally introduced in the Great Lakes. A total of 97 non-species, from parasites to plants live in Lake Superior. More than 10,000 migrating birds of prey lands in the lake each day during the fall migration season. There are nearly 60 orchid species including birds such as hawks, loons, and owls call Lake Superior their home.

 

Lively Tourism

Tourism is one of the economic mainstays of the lake region, which is home to over 600,000 people. An abundance of festivals, concerts, events, and unique dining and shopping opportunities create a cheerful atmosphere. The lake is known for its good and clean water, and the epicenter of scuba diving, at winter excites the skiers, snowmobiles, and ice fishing fans.

 

Indeed Lake Superior is one of the greatest natural creations on the planet, we need to love and take good care of this wonderful lake. It’s easy to fall in love with the area and if you have, too, celebrate it with a shirt or hoodie from our Great Lakes collection.