Skip to content

How Many Great Lakes Are There

The Great Lakes, also called the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurentian Great Lakes, are a collection of vast freshwater lakes that are interconnected and have certain sea-like features in the region that lies to the east of North America that connects to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence River. They include Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario and are generally close to or along the border between Canada and the United States. Regarding hydrology, Lakes Michigan and Huron are one body, joined at the Straits of Mackinac. The Great Lakes Waterway facilitates modern transportation and shipping via the water between the lakes.

The Great Lakes are the largest collection of freshwater lakes on Earth in terms of total area. They are second in volume, with 21 percent of the world’s fresh water in volume. The total area is approximately 94,250 acres (244,106 km2) as well as the amount (measured at the low-water measurement point) of 5,439 cubic miles (22,671 km3),[5just a little smaller than that from Lake Baikal (5,666 cu mi or 23,615 sq km, 22-23 percent of the world’s surface freshwater). Due to their sea-like features like the rolling waves, sustained winds, strong currents, deep depths, and distant horizons, these five Great Lakes have long been described as”inland seas. Based on the way they are measured, either by surface area, Lake Superior or Lake Michigan-Huron is the second largest lake in the world and is the world’s largest freshwater lake. Lake Michigan is the largest lake that is located in one country. [7][8][9][10]

The Great Lakes began to form towards the end of the Last Glacial Period around 14,000 years ago when receding ice sheets revealed the basins they had cut into the Earth and then filled with melting water. They are a significant source for transportation, migration, fishing, and trade, providing habitat for numerous aquatic species in the region with a lot of diversity. The region around them is known as”the Great Lakes region, which includes the Great Lakes Megalopolis. [12]


The age of the Great Lakes is still not completely determined. Estimates range from 7,000 to 32,000 years old. The glacially scoured basins as early as the ice receded approximately 14000 years back. It is generally believed to be that Lake Erie reached its present levels around 10,000 years ago. Lake Ontario about 7,000 years ago, and Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior around 3,000 years ago.

Water glass with white background. (drink clear, clean water or liquid)

The physiography of Great Lakes

The lakes drain approximately from east to west, draining in the Atlantic Ocean through the St. Lawrence lowlands. Except for Lakes Michigan and Huron, which are both hydrologically one lake, Their altitudes decrease in each lake, typically leading to a gradual flow increase.

Lake Superior, bordered by Ontario and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, is the westernmost and northernmost lake that can be considered the primary water source of the whole system. Lake Superior is among the deepest (mean depth of 483 feet [147 meters) and is located at an elevation of 600 feet over sea level, which discharges into Lake Huron through the St. Marys River at an average that is 75,600 cubic feet (2,141 cubic meters) every second. The huge size of the lake (its deepest point is 732 feet below sea level) implies that it has a retention period of 191 years.

Prehistory of geologic origins

The Great Lakes were formed after the last ice age around 10,000 years ago. This was when the Laurentide ice sheet began to recede. The glaciers left behind an enormous quantity of melting water (see Lake Agassiz), which filled the basins the glaciers carved and created these Great Lakes as we know they are to this day. Due to variations in glacier erosion, some hills with higher elevations were transformed into Great Lakes islands. The Niagara Escarpment is a continuation of the contours of the Great Lakes between New York and Wisconsin — Herbert Simon called it”my spinal cord.” ancestral country.


Lakes are widely used for transport, even though cargo volume has been decreasing recently. It is the Great Lakes Waterway that makes each of the lakes accessible.

When the settlement was in progress in the early days of settlement, the time of settlement, Great Lakes and its rivers were the only viable method of transporting freight and people. All sorts of things floated on the lakes. Some ended up at the bottom due to storms or fires, collisions, collisions, or dangers from the water. (See Edmund Fitzgerald and Le Griffon.) Barrages from the middle of North America could get to the Atlantic Ocean from the Great Lakes as soon as the Erie Canal began operation in 1825. With an opening ceremony of the Illinois and Michigan Canal at Chicago, direct access to the Mississippi River was possible from the lakes. An all-inland water route was made through these two canals from New York City and New Orleans.

The principal purpose of many railways in the 1800s was the transportation of immigrants. Most major cities have their roots in their location on lakes as a destination for freight and an attractive destination for new immigrants. When surface roads and railroads were created, the passenger and freight business slowed down and, except for ferryboats and a few cruise ships, went.

But, the routes of immigration continue to influence the world today. Many immigrants have formed their communities, and certain regions are characterized by a strong ethnicity, like Dutch, German, Polish, Finnish, and many others. Because many immigrants settled for some time within New England before moving westward and into the U.S. side of the Great Lakes also have a New England feel, especially in accents and home styles.

Lake Michigan has a ‘Bermuda Triangle that is it’s own.

There’s an area in Lake Michigan where many unexplained events have left people confused and has been called”the Michigan Triangle – similar to the Bermuda Triangle. There have been mysterious disappearances of planes, ships, and shipwrecks. The north of the triangle is close to Traverse City, and a mysterious Stonehenge-like formation is located beneath that lake’s shoreline. Many believe that the two phenomena are linked to each other.

The Great Lakes Basin

The Great Lakes basin encompasses large areas of two countries, the United States and Canada.

About 25 percent of Canadian agricultural production and 7 percent of American farm production

The population is greater than 30 million – approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population and more than 30 percent of the Canadian population.

The Great Lakes basin is defined by engineering, science, and political considerations.

A mix of politics and engineering (Canadian) has led to Canada’s Rideau exception being added to the Great Lakes basin (the orange stripes on the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence River). The Clean Water Act defines the orange-striped polygon on the U.S. side as a part of the Great Lakes basin (though hydrologically, it drains into the St. Lawrence River).

The boundaries of the two maps are determined by eight-digit Hydrologic Unit codes (HUC8). They could change when more precise mapping is created in these areas. These maps also show the counties within the Great Lakes basin.

Great Lakes Bathymetry Map showing depths of water within the Great Lakes. The lakes differ greatly in depth. A large portion of the area of Lake Erie is less than 50 feet deep. However, vast areas of Lake Superior are hundreds of feet deep. The map was created through the National Geophysical Data Center in 1999.

Additional sources

Twin Cities Pioneer Press: “Spectacularly Intact” 1897 Shipwreck discovered in Lake Superior.

Biography: Samuel de Champlain

The Travel Channel: The Great Lakes Video

EPA: Physical Characteristics of the Great Lakes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *