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Lake Superior is the largest of the five Great Lakes in North America. Two countries share its borders: Canada and the United States. The province of Ontario sits on the northern part of the lake and the state of Minnesota is on its western area and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Wisconsin can be found to the south.

Key cities around the lake include Minnesota, Superior, Wisconsin, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Michigan, Marquette, the two ports of Duluth and the two cities of Sault Ste. Marie.


Still, there is more to Lake Superior than meets the eye;

Did you know that…?

  •    Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world when it comes to the surface area. With an average depth of 147 meters, the lake is the third deepest freshwater lake in the world.
  •    The lake covers about 82,000 square km and has a depth of 405 meters or 1,333 feet. If you stretched the shorelines of Lake Superior into one straight line, it could run from Duluth, Minnesota to the Bahamas.
  •    Because of the unpredictability of the weather in Lake Superior, its waters have claimed 350 shipwrecks and over 10,000 lives forever lost .
  •    It contains almost 10% of the world’s fresh water.
  •    Even with all the other Great Lakes combined, Lake Superior still surpasses their water volume. In fact, there’s enough water in Lake Superior to flood both North and South America one foot deep!
  •    More than 300 streams and rivers empty into the lake, Nipigon River in Ontario is its largest water source.
  •    Lake Superior drains into St. Mary’s River and has the highest elevation in North America.


How Lake Superior Formed

  •    The North American Mid-Continent Rift about 1.1 to 1.2 billion years ago formed Lake Superior. The rift created a huge trail of hot mantle where Lake Superior lies today. The crust ripped apart, leaving a massive depression in the earth’s crust stretching from Minnesota to Michigan.
  •    Due to this ancient phenomenon, some of the world’s oldest accessible rocks from 2.7 billion years ago can be found on Lake Superior’s shore, particularly in Ontario.
  •    The ripping of the continent created Lake Superior’s unique land structure; the lake has both the thickest and thinnest crust in North America.
  •    The lake houses the largest exposure of Precambrian rock at its southern part of the Canadian border.
  •    Lake Superior is known for its vastness, and correspondingly its waves are massive as well. The highest wave recorded in the lake reached 9.45 meters or 31 feet high. The lake even has its own tide.

  •    The lake’s water is so clear that the underwater visibility is around 8 meters or 27 feet. In some spots, it can reach up to 30 meters. This makes Lake Superior the cleanest of all the Great Lakes.
  •   The lake also has its own temperament. After a big storm, Lake Superior regularly churns up debris from the past which ends up on its shores. The debris found on the shore includes old lumber, pop cans, coal used in ancient factories, and lake glass.


The inhabitants of Lake Superior

  •    A total of 78 different species of fish resides in Lake Superior.
  •    After Florida, Lake Superior has the most number of floras. It boasts of 58 native orchids in its basin.
  •    When Europeans first explored the lake in the 1600s, they reported massive sturgeons measuring up to 9 feet in length and pikes reaching up to 7 feet in length.
  •    As many as 100,000 migrating birds of prey take refuge at the northern shore of Lake Superior each fall at Duluth’s Hawk Ridge.
  •    Nipigon River in Ontario boasts the world’s biggest brook trout in the 1880s. Anglers once caught brook trout weighing 14.5 pounds.


The Lake’s Weather Conditions

  •    During the cold season, Lake Superior generates the greatest snow effect on earth. Extending from 20 to 30 miles it primarily affects Ontario, Sault Ste. Marie to the southeast of Marathon reaching until Wisconsin and Michigan borders. The rare effect can even be felt from the east shore of Hudson Bay to the west coasts of Japanese Islands.
  •    How massive is its snow effects? The town of Keweenaw in Michigan exceeds 200 inches of snow in some places each year.
  •    Lake Superior has a colder temperature compared to other lakes. During summer it offers cool refreshment from the scorching sun with its temperature of 36°F or 2°C.  But even though the lake rarely freezes over, it can offer some cool frozen waves when it does:

  •    There have only been two recorded instances where Lake Superior completely froze over. Once in 1979, and, after almost four decades, again in 2014.


When visiting Michigan, make sure Lake Superior is on your list of things to see. And after you’ve fallen in love with our great state, show everyone how great it is in Michigan with some of our fun clothes.