Lake Superior is home to about 80 species of fish, including carp and varieties of trout, salmon and perch. In the winter of 1926 Lake Superior reached its lowest recorded level at 1.58 feet (0.48 m) below datum. 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. A ship approaches the Duluth Pier Lighthouse. If trends continue, Lake Superior, which freezes over completely once every 20 years, could routinely be ice-free by 2040. [12] Superior is the farthest north and west of the Great Lakes chain, and the highest in elevation, draining through the St. Mary's River into Lake Huron. Water temperatures on Lake Michigan make it to the 60s in July and August and can sometimes make it into the 70s when air temperatures have been in the 90s for a number of continuous days.The water of Lake Michigan has an unusual circulatory pattern — it resembles the traffic flow in a suburban cul-de-sac — and moves very slowly. The increase in the lake's surface temperature may be related to the decreasing ice cover. Species native to the lake include: banded killifish, bloater, brook trout, burbot, cisco, lake sturgeon, lake trout, lake whitefish, longnose sucker, muskellunge, northern pike, pumpkinseed, rock bass, round whitefish, smallmouth bass, walleye, white sucker and yellow perch. 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 But by 1821, with competition harming the profits of both, the companies merged under the Hudson's Bay Company name. Lake Superior's Deepest Point is 1,333 ft (406 m) deep! 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. 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. Ice covers rocks on Lake Superior. In all of the five Great Lakes, Lake Superior stands as the biggest and widest lake of all. Thank you for signing up to Live Science. [22], Historic high water 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. At the end of your trek, nothing is more beautiful than watching a Lake Superior sunset from nearly any spot along the national lakeshore. Until approximately 1887, the natural hydraulic conveyance through the St. Marys River rapids determined the outflow from Lake Superior. [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. This graphic may be hard to understand at first, the y axis on the left is based on altitude above sea level. 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. Sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, inland lakes, deep forest, and wild shoreline beckon you to visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Please refresh the page and try again. Duluth-Superior, at the western end of Lake Superior, is the most inland point on the St. Lawrence Seaway and the most inland port in the world. Exact dates for the shipping season vary each year,[41] depending on weather conditions that form and break the ice. Lake Superior is fed by more than 200 rivers, including the Nipigon River, the St. Louis River, the Pigeon River, the Pic River, the White River, the Michipicoten River, the Bois Brule River and the Kaministiquia River. Lava erupted from the rift and formed the black basalt rock of Michipicoten Island, Black Bay Peninsula, and St. Ignace Island. [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. (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. Edmund Fitzgerald was battered so intensely by Lake Superior that the 729-foot (222 m) ship split in half; her two pieces are approximately 170 feet (52 m) apart in a depth of 91 fathoms 4 feet (550 ft or 170 m). 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. 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. 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. How Big & Deep is Lake Superior? Basin depth is 8-foot minimum entry and main basin: 5-foot depth at dock and ramp ends. Clear water laps the shore at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The Ojibwe name for the lake is gichi-gami (pronounced gitchi-gami or kitchi-gami in different dialects),[13] meaning "great sea". They are known as the Plano, and they used stone-tipped spears to hunt caribou on the northwestern side of Lake Minong. One billion years in the making, Lake Superior's majesty, tranquility, and fury are all on display in Bayfield County. The Soo Locks enable ships to bypass the rapids and to overcome the 25-foot (8 m) height difference between Lakes Superior and Huron. They were Algonkian people who hunted, fished and gathered berries. They are believed to be the direct ancestors of the Ojibwe and Cree.[37]. But Lake Superior's water is cold enough year-round to inhibit bacterial growth, and bodies tend to sink and never resurface. [34] The lake lies in this long-extinct Mesoproterozoic rift valley, the Midcontinent Rift. As of 2017, there were only 483 individuals in the wild across North America, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. [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). Lake Superior got its name from having the most volume of water among the five lakes in the area, therefore being "Superior". Overall, the Great Lakes reached a 91 percent ice cover that year, which is the most the lakes have frozen since 1979. During the Precambrian (between 4.5 billion and 540 million years ago) magma forcing its way to the surface created the intrusive granites of the Canadian Shield. The greatest and biggest of all the Great Lakes is Lake Superior. Live Science is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. [31] Normally, bacteria decaying a sunken body will bloat it with gas, causing it to float to the surface after a few days. Lake Superior empties into Lake Huron via the St. Marys River and the Soo Locks.
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