The Great Lakes (French: les Grands-Lacs), also called the Laurentian Great Lakes and the Great Lakes of North America, are a series of interconnected freshwater lakes located primarily in the upper mid-east region of North America, on the Canada–United States border, which connect to the Atlantic Ocean through the Saint Lawrence River. They consist of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, although hydrologically, there are four lakes, Superior, Erie, Ontario, and Michigan-Huron. The connected lakes form the Great Lakes Waterway.
The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total area, and second largest by total volume, containing 21% of the world's surface fresh water by volume. The total surface is 94,250 square miles (244,106 km2), and the total volume (measured at the low water datum) is 5,439 cubic miles (22,671 km3), slightly less than the volume of Lake Baikal (5,666 cu mi or 23,615 km3, 22–23% of the world's surface fresh water). Due to their sea-like characteristics (rolling waves, sustained winds, strong currents, great depths, and distant horizons) the five Great Lakes have also long been referred to as inland seas. Lake Superior is the second largest lake in the world by area, and the largest freshwater lake by area. Lake Michigan is the largest lake that is entirely within one country.
The Great Lakes began to form at the end of the last glacial period around 14,000 years ago, as retreating ice sheets exposed the basins they had carved into the land which then filled with meltwater. The lakes have been a major source for transportation, migration, trade, and fishing, serving as a habitat to a large number of aquatic species in a region with much biodiversity.
Though the five lakes lie in separate basins, they form a single, naturally interconnected body of fresh water, within the Great Lakes Basin. They form a chain connecting the east-central interior of North America to the Atlantic Ocean. From the interior to the outlet at the Saint Lawrence River, water flows from Superior to Huron and Michigan, southward to Erie, and finally northward to Lake Ontario. The lakes drain a large watershed via many rivers, and are studded with approximately 35,000 islands. There are also several thousand smaller lakes, often called "inland lakes," within the basin. The surface area of the five primary lakes combined is roughly equal to the size of the United Kingdom, while the surface area of the entire basin (the lakes and the land they drain) is about the size of the UK and France combined. Lake Michigan is the only one of the Great Lakes that is located entirely within the United States; the others form a water boundary between the United States and Canada. The lakes are divided among the jurisdictions of the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Both Ontario and Michigan include in their boundaries portions of four of the lakes: Ontario does not border Lake Michigan, and Michigan does not border Lake Ontario. New York and Wisconsin's jurisdictions extend into two lakes, and each of the remaining states into one of the lakes.
|Lake Erie||Lake Huron||Lake Michigan||Lake Ontario||Lake Superior|
|Surface area||9,910 sq mi (25,700 km2)||23,000 sq mi (60,000 km2)||22,300 sq mi (58,000 km2)||7,340 sq mi (19,000 km2)||31,700 sq mi (82,000 km2)|
|Water volume||116 cu mi (480 km3)||850 cu mi (3,500 km3)||1,180 cu mi (4,900 km3)||393 cu mi (1,640 km3)||2,900 cu mi (12,000 km3)|
|Elevation||571 ft (174 m)||577 ft (176 m)||577 ft (176 m)||246 ft (75 m)||600.0 ft (182.9 m)|
|Average depth||62 ft (19 m)||195 ft (59 m)||279 ft (85 m)||283 ft (86 m)||483 ft (147 m)|
|Maximum depth||210 ft (64 m)||748 ft (228 m)||925 ft (282 m)||804 ft (245 m)||1,333 ft (406 m)|
|Major settlements||Buffalo, NY
Bay City, MI
Owen Sound, ON
Port Huron, MI
Green Bay, WI
Traverse City, MI
Sault Ste. Marie, MI
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Thunder Bay, ON
|Notes:||The area of each rectangle is proportionate to the volume of each lake. All measurements at Low Water Datum.|
As the surfaces of Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan, and Erie are all approximately the same elevation above sea level, while Lake Ontario is significantly lower, and because the Niagara Escarpment precludes all natural navigation, the four upper lakes are commonly called the "upper great lakes". This designation, however, is not universal. Those living on the shore of Lake Superior often refer to all the other lakes as "the lower lakes", because they are farther south. Sailors of bulk freighters transferring cargoes from Lake Superior and northern Lake Michigan and Lake Huron to ports on Lake Erie or Ontario commonly refer to the latter as the lower lakes and Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Superior as the upper lakes. This corresponds to thinking of Lakes Erie and Ontario as "down south" and the others as "up north". Vessels sailing north on Lake Michigan are considered "upbound" even though they are sailing toward its effluent current.
Lakes Huron and Michigan are sometimes considered a single lake, called Lake Michigan–Huron, because they are one hydrological body of water connected by the Straits of Mackinac. The straits are 5 miles (8 km) wide and 120 feet (37 m) deep; the water levels – currently at 577 feet (176 m) – rise and fall together, and the flow between Michigan and Huron frequently reverses direction.
Dispersed throughout the Great Lakes are approximately 35,000 islands. The largest among them is Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, the largest island in any inland body of water in the world. The second-largest island is Isle Royale in Lake Superior. Both of these islands are large enough to contain multiple lakes themselves—for instance, Manitoulin Island's Lake Manitou is the world's largest lake located on a freshwater island. Some of these lakes even have their own islands, like Treasure Island in Lake Mindemoya in Manitoulin Island
The Great Lakes also have several peninsulas between them, including the Door Peninsula, the Peninsulas of Michigan, and the Ontario Peninsula. Some of these peninsulas even contain smaller peninsulas, like the Keweenaw Peninsula, the Thumb Peninsula, the Bruce Peninsula, and the Niagara Peninsula. Population centers on the peninsulas include Grand Rapids, Michigan, Detroit, Michigan, London, Ontario, Hamilton, Ontario, and Toronto, Ontario.
The Saint Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes Waterway make the Great Lakes accessible to ocean-going vessels. However, shifts in shipping to wider ocean-going container ships—which do not fit through the locks on these routes—have limited container shipping on the lakes. Most Great Lakes trade is of bulk material, and bulk freighters of Seawaymax-size or less can move throughout the entire lakes and out to the Atlantic. Larger ships are confined to working in the lakes themselves. Only barges can access the Illinois Waterway system providing access to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River. Despite their vast size, large sections of the Great Lakes freeze over in winter, interrupting most shipping from January to March. Some icebreakers ply the lakes, keeping the shipping lanes open through other periods of ice on the lakes.
The Great Lakes are also connected by the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to the Gulf of Mexico by way of the Illinois River (from the Chicago River) and the Mississippi River. An alternate track is via the Illinois River (from Chicago), to the Mississippi, up the Ohio, and then through the Tennessee–Tombigbee Waterway (a combination of a series of rivers and lakes and canals), to Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Commercial tug-and-barge traffic on these waterways is heavy.
Pleasure boats can also enter or exit the Great Lakes by way of the Erie Canal and Hudson River in New York. The Erie Canal connects to the Great Lakes at the east end of Lake Erie (at Buffalo, New York) and at the south side of Lake Ontario (at Oswego, New York).
In 2009, the lakes contained 84% of the surface freshwater of North America; if the water were evenly distributed over the entire continent's land area, it would reach a depth of 1.5 meters (5 feet). The source of water levels in the lakes is tied to what was left by melting glaciers when the lakes took their present form. Annually, only about 1% is "new" water originating from rivers, precipitation, and groundwater springs that drain into the lakes. Historically, evaporation has been balanced by drainage, making the level of the lakes constant. While the lake levels have been preserved, intensive human population growth only began in the region in the 20th century and continues today. At least two human water use activities have been identified as having the potential to affect the lakes' levels: diversion (the transfer of water to other watersheds) and consumption (substantially done today by the use of lake water to power and cool electric generation plants, resulting in evaporation).
The water level of Lake Michigan–Huron had remained fairly constant over the 20th century, but has nevertheless dropped more than 6 feet from the record high in 1986 to the low of 2013. One newspaper reported that the long-term average level has gone down about 20 inches because of dredging and subsequent erosion in the St. Clair River. Lake Michigan–Huron hit all-time record low levels in 2013; according to the US Army Corps of Engineers, the previous record low had been set in 1964. By April 2015 the water level had recovered to 7 inches (17.5 cm) more than the "long term monthly average".
The Great Lakes contain 21% of the world's surface fresh water: 5,472 cubic miles (22,810 km3), or 6.0×1015 U.S. gallons, that is 6 quadrillion U.S gallons, (2.3×1016 liters). This is enough water to cover the 48 contiguous U.S. states to a uniform depth of 9.5 feet (2.9 m). Although the lakes contain a large percentage of the world's fresh water, the Great Lakes supply only a small portion of U.S. drinking water on a national basis.
The total surface area of the lakes is approximately 94,250 square miles (244,100 km2)—nearly the same size as the United Kingdom, and larger than the U.S. states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire combined.
The Great Lakes coast measures approximately 10,500 miles (16,900 km); however, the length of a coastline is impossible to measure exactly and is not a well-defined measure (see Coastline paradox). Of the total 10,500 miles (16,900 km) of shoreline, Canada borders approximately 5,200 miles (8,400 km), while the remaining 5,300 miles (8,500 km) are bordered by the United States. Michigan has the longest shoreline of the United States, bordering roughly 3,288 miles (5,292 km) of shoreline, followed by Wisconsin (820 miles (1,320 km)), New York (473 miles (761 km)), and Ohio (312 miles (502 km)). Traversing the shoreline of all the lakes would cover a distance roughly equivalent to travelling half-way around the world at the equator.
It has been estimated that the foundational geology that created the conditions shaping the present day upper Great Lakes was laid from 1.1 to 1.2 billion years ago, when two previously fused tectonic plates split apart and created the Midcontinent Rift, which crossed the Great Lakes Tectonic Zone. A valley was formed providing a basin that eventually became modern day Lake Superior. When a second fault line, the Saint Lawrence rift, formed approximately 570 million years ago, the basis for Lakes Ontario and Erie were created, along with what would become the Saint Lawrence River.
The Great Lakes are estimated to have been formed at the end of the last glacial period (the Wisconsin glaciation ended 10,000 to 12,000 years ago), when the Laurentide Ice Sheet receded. The retreat of the ice sheet left behind a large amount of meltwater (see Lake Algonquin, Lake Chicago, Glacial Lake Iroquois, and Champlain Sea) that filled up the basins that the glaciers had carved, thus creating the Great Lakes as we know them today. Because of the uneven nature of glacier erosion, some higher hills became Great Lakes islands. The Niagara Escarpment follows the contour of the Great Lakes between New York and Wisconsin. Land below the glaciers "rebounded" as it was uncovered. Since the glaciers covered some areas longer than others, this glacial rebound occurred at different rates.
A notable modern phenomenon is the formation of ice volcanoes over the lakes during wintertime. Storm-generated waves carve the lakes' ice sheet and create conical mounds through the eruption of water and slush. The process is only well-documented in the Great Lakes, and has been credited with sparing the southern shorelines from worse rocky erosion.
The Great Lakes have a humid continental climate, Köppen climate classification Dfa (in southern areas) and Dfb (in northern parts) with varying influences from air masses from other regions including dry, cold Arctic systems, mild Pacific air masses from the West, and warm, wet tropical systems from the south and the Gulf of Mexico. The lakes themselves also have a moderating effect on the climate; they can also increase precipitation totals and produce lake effect snowfall.
The most well-known winter effect of the Great Lakes on regional weather is the lake effect in snowfall, which is sometimes very localized. Even late in winter, the lakes often have no icepack in the middle. The prevailing winds from the west pick up the air and moisture from the lake surface, which is slightly warmer in relation to the cold surface winds above. As the slightly warmer, moist air passes over the colder land surface, the moisture often produces concentrated, heavy snowfall that sets up in bands or "streamers". This is similar to the effect of warmer air dropping snow as it passes over mountain ranges. During freezing weather with high winds, the "snow belts" receive regular snow fall from this localized weather pattern, especially along the eastern shores of the lakes. Snow belts are found in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, United States; and Ontario, Canada.
The lakes also moderate seasonal temperatures to some degree, but not with as large an influence as do large oceans; they absorb heat and cool the air in summer, then slowly radiate that heat in autumn. They protect against frost during transitional weather, and keep the summertime temperatures cooler than further inland. This effect can be very localized and overridden by offshore wind patterns. This temperature buffering produces areas known as "fruit belts", where fruit can be produced that is typically grown much farther south. For instance, Western Michigan has apple and cherry orchards, and vineyards cultivated adjacent to the lake shore as far north as the Grand Traverse Bay and Nottawasaga Bay in central Ontario. The eastern shore of Lake Michigan and the southern shore of Lake Erie have many successful wineries because of the moderating effect, as does the Niagara Peninsula between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. A similar phenomenon allows wineries to flourish in the Finger Lakes region of New York, as well as in Prince Edward County, Ontario on Lake Ontario's northeast shore. Related to the lake effect is the regular occurrence of fog over medium-sized areas, particularly along the shorelines of the lakes. This is most noticeable along Lake Superior's shores.
The Great Lakes have been observed to help intensify storms, such as Hurricane Hazel in 1954, and the 2011 Goderich, Ontario tornado, which moved onshore as a tornadic waterspout. In 1996 a rare tropical or subtropical storm was observed forming in Lake Huron, dubbed the 1996 Lake Huron cyclone. Rather large severe thunderstorms covering wide areas are well known in the Great Lakes during mid-summer; these Mesoscale convective complexs or MCCs can cause damage to wide swaths of forest and shatter glass in city buildings. These storms mainly occur during the night, and the systems sometimes have small embedded tornadoes, but more often straight-line winds accompanied by intense lightning.
Historically, the Great Lakes, in addition to their lake ecology, were surrounded by various forest ecoregions (except in a relatively small area of southeast Lake Michigan where savanna or prairie occasionally intruded). Logging, urbanization, and agriculture uses have changed that relationship. In the early 21st century, Lake Superior's shores are 91% forested, Lake Huron 68%, Lake Ontario 49%, Lake Michigan 41%, and Lake Erie, where logging and urbanization has been most extensive, 21%. Some of these forests are second or third growth (i.e. they have been logged before, changing their composition). At least 13 wildlife species are documented as becoming extinct since the arrival of Europeans, and many more are threatened or endangered. Meanwhile, exotic and invasive species have also been introduced.
The organisms living on the bottom of shallow waters are similar to those found in smaller lakes. The deep waters, however, contain organisms found only in deep, cold lakes of the northern latitudes. These include the delicate opossum shrimp (order mysida), the deepwater scud (a crustacean of the order amphipoda), two types of copepods, and the deepwater sculpin (a spiny, large-headed fish).
The Great Lakes are an important source of fishing. Early European settlers were astounded by both the variety and quantity of fish; there were 150 different species in the Great Lakes. Throughout history, fish populations were the early indicator of the condition of the Lakes and have remained one of the key indicators even in the current era of sophisticated analyses and measuring instruments. According to the bi-national (U.S. and Canadian) resource book, The Great Lakes: An Environmental Atlas and Resource Book: "The largest Great Lakes fish harvests were recorded in 1889 and 1899 at some 67,000 tonnes (66,000 long tons; 74,000 short tons) [147 million pounds]."
By 1801, the New York Legislature found it necessary to pass regulations curtailing obstructions to the natural migrations of Atlantic salmon from Lake Erie into their spawning channels. In the early 19th century, the government of Upper Canada found it necessary to introduce similar legislation prohibiting the use of weirs and nets at the mouths of Lake Ontario's tributaries. Other protective legislation was passed, as well, but enforcement remained difficult.
On both sides of the Canada–United States border, the proliferation of dams and impoundments have multiplied, necessitating more regulatory efforts. Concerns by the mid-19th century included obstructions in the rivers which prevented salmon and lake sturgeon from reaching their spawning grounds. The Wisconsin Fisheries Commission noted a reduction of roughly 25% in general fish harvests by 1875. The states have removed dams from rivers where necessary.
Overfishing has been cited as a possible reason for a decrease in population of various whitefish, important because of their culinary desirability and, hence, economic consequence. Moreover, between 1879 and 1899, reported whitefish harvests declined from some 24.3 million pounds (11 million kg) to just over 9 million pounds (4 million kg). By 1900, commercial fishermen on Lake Michigan were hauling in an average of 41 million pounds of fish annually. By 1938, Wisconsin's commercial fishing operations were motorized and mechanized, generating jobs for more than 2,000 workers, and hauling 14 million pounds per year. The population of giant freshwater mussels was eliminated as the mussels were harvested for use as buttons by early Great Lakes entrepreneurs. Since 2000, the invasive quagga mussel has smothered the bottom of Lake Michigan almost from shore to shore, and their numbers are estimated at 900 trillion.
The influx of parasitic lamprey populations after the development of the Erie Canal and the much later Welland Canal led to the two federal governments of the US and Canada working on joint proposals to control it. By the mid-1950s, the lake trout populations of Lakes Michigan and Huron were reduced, with the lamprey deemed largely to blame. This led to the launch of the bi-national Great Lakes Fishery Commission.
The Great Lakes: An Environmental Atlas and Resource Book (1972) noted: "Only pockets remain of the once large commercial fishery." But, water quality improvements realized during the 1970s and 1980s, combined with successful salmonid stocking programs, have enabled the growth of a large recreational fishery. The last commercial fisherman left Milwaukee in 2011 because of overfishing and anthropogenic changes to the biosphere.
Since the 19th century an estimated 160 new species have found their way into the Great Lakes ecosystem; many have become invasive; the overseas ship ballast and ship hull parasitism are causing severe economic and ecological impacts. According to the Inland Seas Education Association, on average a new species enters the Great Lakes every eight months.
Introductions into the Great Lakes include the zebra mussel, which was first discovered in 1988, and quagga mussel in 1989. The mollusks are efficient filter feeders, competing with native mussels and reducing available food and spawning grounds for fish. In addition, the mussels may be a nuisance to industries by clogging pipes. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that the economic impact of the zebra mussel could be about $5 billion over the next decade.
The alewife first entered the system west of Lake Ontario via 19th-century canals. By the 1960s, the small silver fish had become a familiar nuisance to beach goers across Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie. Periodic mass dieoffs result in vast numbers of the fish washing up on shore; estimates by various governments have placed the percentage of Lake Michigan's biomass, which was made up of alewives in the early 1960s, as high as 90%. In the late 1960s, the various state and federal governments began stocking several species of salmonids, including the native lake trout as well as non-native chinook and coho salmon; by the 1980s, alewife populations had dropped drastically. The ruffe, a small percid fish from Eurasia, became the most abundant fish species in Lake Superior's Saint Louis River within five years of its detection in 1986. Its range, which has expanded to Lake Huron, poses a significant threat to the lower lake fishery. Five years after first being observed in the St. Clair River, the round goby can now be found in all of the Great Lakes. The goby is considered undesirable for several reasons: it preys upon bottom-feeding fish, overruns optimal habitat, spawns multiple times a season, and can survive poor water quality conditions.
Several species of exotic water fleas have accidentally been introduced into the Great Lakes, such as the spiny waterflea, Bythotrephes longimanus, and the fishhook waterflea, Cercopagis pengoi, potentially having an effect on the zooplankton population. Several species of crayfish have also been introduced that may contend with native crayfish populations. More recently an electric fence has been set up across the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in order to keep several species of invasive Asian carp out of the area. These fast-growing planktivorous fish have heavily colonized the Mississippi and Illinois river systems. The sea lamprey, which has been particularly damaging to the native lake trout population, is another example of a marine invasive species in the Great Lakes. Invasive species, particularly zebra and quagga mussels, may be at least partially responsible for the collapse of the deepwater demersal fish community in Lake Huron, as well as drastic unprecedented changes in the zooplankton community of the lake.
Plant lists include:
Logging of the extensive forests in the Great Lakes region removed riparian and adjacent tree cover over rivers and streams, which provide shade, moderating water temperatures in fish spawning grounds. Removal of trees also destabilized the soil, with greater volumes washed into stream beds causing siltation of gravel beds, and more frequent flooding.
Running cut logs down the tributary rivers into the Great Lakes also dislocated sediments. In 1884, the New York Fish Commission determined that the dumping of sawmill waste (chips and sawdust) had impacted fish populations.
The first U.S. Clean Water Act, passed by a Congressional override after being vetoed by US President Richard Nixon in 1972, was a key piece of legislation, along with the bi-national Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement signed by Canada and the U.S. A variety of steps taken to process industrial and municipal pollution discharges into the system greatly improved water quality by the 1980s, and Lake Erie in particular is significantly cleaner. Discharge of toxic substances has been sharply reduced. Federal and state regulations control substances like PCBs. The first of 43 "Great Lakes Areas of Concern" to be formally "de-listed" due to successful cleanup was Ontario's Collingwood Harbour in 1994; Ontario's Severn Sound followed in 2003. Presque Isle Bay in Pennsylvania is formally listed as in recovery, as is Ontario's Spanish Harbour. Dozens of other Areas of Concern have received partial cleanups such as the Rouge River (Michigan) and Waukegan Harbor (Illinois).
Phosphate detergents were historically a major source of nutrient to the Great Lakes algae blooms in particular in the warmer and shallower portions of the system such as Lake Erie, Saginaw Bay, Green Bay, and the southernmost portion of Lake Michigan. By the mid-1980s, most jurisdictions bordering the Great Lakes had controlled phosphate detergents, resulting in sharp reductions in the frequency and extent of the blooms.
Until 1970, mercury was not listed as a harmful chemical, according to the United States Federal Water Quality Administration. Within the past ten years mercury has become more apparent in water tests. Mercury compounds have been used in paper mills to prevent slime from forming during their production, and chemical companies have used mercury to separate chlorine from brine solutions. Studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency have shown that when the mercury comes in contact with many of the bacteria and compounds in the fresh water, it forms the compound methyl mercury, which has a much greater impact on human health than elemental mercury due to a higher propensity for absorption. This form of mercury is not detrimental to a majority of fish types, but is very detrimental to people and other wildlife animals who consume the fish. Mercury has been known for health related problems such as birth defects in humans and animals, and the near extinction of eagles in the Great Lakes region.
The amount of raw sewage dumped into the waters was the primary focus of both the first Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and federal laws passed in both countries during the 1970s. Implementation of secondary treatment of municipal sewage by major cities greatly reduced the routine discharge of untreated sewage during the 1970s and 1980s. The International Joint Commission in 2009 summarized the change: "Since the early 1970s, the level of treatment to reduce pollution from waste water discharges to the Great Lakes has improved considerably. This is a result of significant expenditures to date on both infrastructure and technology, and robust regulatory systems that have proven to be, on the whole, quite effective." The commission reported that all urban sewage treatment systems on the U.S. side of the lakes had implemented secondary treatment, as had all on the Canadian side except for five small systems.
However contrary to federal laws in both countries, those treatment system upgrades have not yet eliminated Combined sewer Overflow events. This describes when older sewerage systems, which combine storm water with sewage into single sewers heading to the treatment plant, are temporarily overwhelmed by heavy rainstorms. Local sewage treatment authorities then must release untreated effluent, a mix of rainwater and sewage, into local water bodies. While enormous public investments such as the Deep Tunnel projects in Chicago and Milwaukee have greatly reduced the frequency and volume of these events, they have not been eliminated. The number of such overflow events in Ontario, for example, is flat according to the International Joint Commission. Reports about this issue on the U.S. side highlight five large municipal systems (those of Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Milwaukee and Gary) as being the largest current periodic sources of untreated discharges into the Great Lakes.
Algae such as diatoms, along with other phytoplankton, are photosynthetic primary producers supporting the food web of The Great Lakes. The changes in the size or in the function of the primary producers may have a direct or an indirect impact on the food web. Photosynthesis carried out by diatoms comprises about one fifth of the total photosynthesis. By taking CO2 out of the water, to photosynthesize, diatoms help to stabilize the pH of the water, as otherwise CO2 would react with water making it more acidic. Diatoms acquire inorganic carbon thought passive diffusion of CO2 and HCO3, as well they use Carbonic Anhydrase mediated active transport to speed up this process (1). Large diatoms require more carbon uptake than smaller diatoms (8). There is a positive correlation between the surface area and the chlorophyll concentration of diatom cells (2).
Several Native American tribes inhabited the region since at least 10,000 BC, after the end of the Wisconsin glaciation. The peoples of the Great Lakes traded with the Hopewell culture from around 1000 AD, as copper nuggets have been extracted from the region, and fashioned into ornaments and weapons in the mounds of Southern Ohio. The brigantine Le Griffon, which was commissioned by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, was built at Cayuga Creek, near the southern end of the Niagara River, and became the first known sailing ship to travel the upper Great Lakes on August 7, 1679.
The Rush–Bagot Treaty signed in 1818, after the War of 1812 and the later Treaty of Washington eventually led to a complete disarmament of naval vessels in the Great Lakes. Nonetheless, both nations maintain coast guard vessels in the Great Lakes.
During settlement, the Great Lakes and its rivers were the only practical means of moving people and freight. Barges from middle North America were able to reach the Atlantic Ocean from the Great Lakes when the Welland canal opened in 1824 and the later Erie Canal opened in 1825. By 1848, with the opening of the Illinois and Michigan Canal at Chicago, direct access to the Mississippi River was possible from the lakes. With these two canals an all-inland water route was provided between New York City and New Orleans.
The main business of many of the passenger lines in the 19th century was transporting immigrants. Many of the larger cities owe their existence to their position on the lakes as a freight destination as well as for being a magnet for immigrants. After railroads and surface roads developed, the freight and passenger businesses dwindled and, except for ferries and a few foreign cruise ships, has now vanished. The immigration routes still have an effect today. Immigrants often formed their own communities and some areas have a pronounced ethnicity, such as Dutch, German, Polish, Finnish, and many others. Since many immigrants settled for a time in New England before moving westward, many areas on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes also have a New England feel, especially in home styles and accent.
Since general freight these days is transported by railroads and trucks, domestic ships mostly move bulk cargoes, such as iron ore, coal and limestone for the steel industry. The domestic bulk freight developed because of the nearby mines. It was more economical to transport the ingredients for steel to centralized plants rather than try to make steel on the spot. Grain exports are also a major cargo on the lakes.
In the 19th century and early 20th centuries, iron and other ores such as copper were shipped south on (downbound ships), and supplies, food, and coal were shipped north (upbound). Because of the location of the coal fields in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and the general northeast track of the Appalachian Mountains, railroads naturally developed shipping routes that went due north to ports such as Erie, Pennsylvania and Ashtabula, Ohio.
Because the lake maritime community largely developed independently, it has some distinctive vocabulary. Ships, no matter the size, are called boats. When the sailing ships gave way to steamships, they were called steamboats—the same term used on the Mississippi. The ships also have a distinctive design (see Lake freighter). Ships that primarily trade on the lakes are known as lakers. Foreign boats are known as salties. One of the more common sights on the lakes has been since about 1950 the 1,000‑by‑105-foot (305-by-32-meter), 78,850-long-ton (80,120-metric-ton) self-unloader. This is a laker with a conveyor belt system that can unload itself by swinging a crane over the side. Today, the Great Lakes fleet is much smaller in numbers than it once was because of the increased use of overland freight, and a few larger ships replacing many small ones.
During World War II, the risk of submarine attacks against coastal training facilities motivated the United States Navy to operate two aircraft carriers on the Great Lakes, USS Sable (IX-81) and USS Wolverine (IX-64). Both served as training ships to qualify naval aviators in carrier landing and takeoff. Lake Champlain briefly became the sixth Great Lake of the United States on March 6, 1998, when President Clinton signed Senate Bill 927. This bill, which reauthorized the National Sea Grant Program, contained a line declaring Lake Champlain to be a Great Lake. Not coincidentally, this status allows neighboring states to apply for additional federal research and education funds allocated to these national resources. Following a small uproar, the Senate voted to revoke the designation on March 24 (although New York and Vermont universities would continue to receive funds to monitor and study the lake).
Except when the water is frozen during winter, more than 100 lake freighters operate continuously on the Great Lakes, which remain a major water transport corridor for bulk goods. The Great Lakes Waterway connects all the lakes; the smaller Saint Lawrence Seaway connects the lakes to the Atlantic oceans. Some lake freighters are too large to use the Seaway, and only operate on the Waterway and lakes.
In 2002, 162 million net tons of dry bulk cargo were moved on the Lakes. This was, in order of volume: iron ore, grain and potash. The iron ore and much of the stone and coal are used in the steel industry. There is also some shipping of liquid and containerized cargo but most container ships cannot pass the locks on the Saint Lawrence Seaway because the ships are too wide.
Only four bridges are on the Great Lakes other than Lake Ontario because of the cost of building structures high enough for ships to pass under. The Blue Water Bridge is, for example, more than 150 feet high and more than a mile long.
The Great Lakes are used to supply drinking water to tens of millions of people in bordering areas. This valuable resource is collectively administered by the state and provincial governments adjacent to the lakes, who have agreed to the Great Lakes Compact to regulate water supply and use.
Tourism and recreation are major industries on the Great Lakes. A few small cruise ships operate on the Great Lakes including a couple of sailing ships. Sport fishing, commercial fishing, and Native American fishing represent a U.S.$4 billion a year industry with salmon, whitefish, smelt, lake trout, bass and walleye being major catches. Many other water sports are practiced on the lakes such as yachting, sea kayaking, diving, kitesurfing, powerboating, and lake surfing.
From 1844 through 1857, palace steamers carried passengers and cargo around the Great Lakes. In the first half of the 20th century large luxurious passenger steamers sailed the lakes in opulence. The Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Company had several vessels at the time and hired workers from all walks of life to help operate these vessels. Several ferries currently operate on the Great Lakes to carry passengers to various islands, including Isle Royale, Drummond Island, Pelee Island, Mackinac Island, Beaver Island, Bois Blanc Island (Ontario), Bois Blanc Island (Michigan), Kelleys Island, South Bass Island, North Manitou Island, South Manitou Island, Harsens Island, Manitoulin Island, and the Toronto Islands. As of 2007, four car ferry services cross the Great Lakes, two on Lake Michigan: a steamer from Ludington, Michigan, to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and a high speed catamaran from Milwaukee to Muskegon, Michigan, one on Lake Erie: a boat from Kingsville, Ontario, or Leamington, Ontario, to Pelee Island, Ontario, then onto Sandusky, Ohio, and one on Lake Huron: the M.S. Chi-Cheemaun  runs between Tobermory and South Baymouth, Manitoulin Island, operated by the Owen Sound Transportation Company. An international ferry across Lake Ontario Rochester, New York, to Toronto ran during 2004 and 2005, but is no longer in operation.
The large size of the Great Lakes increases the risk of water travel; storms and reefs are common threats. The lakes are prone to sudden and severe storms, in particular in the autumn, from late October until early December. Hundreds of ships have met their end on the lakes. The greatest concentration of shipwrecks lies near Thunder Bay (Michigan), beneath Lake Huron, near the point where eastbound and westbound shipping lanes converge.
The Lake Superior shipwreck coast from Grand Marais, Michigan, to Whitefish Point became known as the "Graveyard of the Great Lakes". More vessels have been lost in the Whitefish Point area than any other part of Lake Superior. The Whitefish Point Underwater Preserve serves as an underwater museum to protect the many shipwrecks in this area.
The first ship to sink in Lake Michigan was Le Griffon, also the first ship to sail the Great Lakes. Caught in a 1679 storm while trading furs between Green Bay and Michilimacinac, she was lost with all hands aboard. Its wreck may have been found in 2004, but a wreck subsequently discovered in a different location was also claimed in 2014 to be Le Griffon.
The largest and last major freighter wrecked on the lakes was the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank on November 10, 1975, just over 17 miles (30 km) offshore from Whitefish Point on Lake Superior. The largest loss of life in a shipwreck out on the lakes may have been that of Lady Elgin, wrecked in 1860 with the loss of around 400 lives on Lake Michigan. In an incident at a Chicago dock in 1915, the SS Eastland rolled over while loading passengers, killing 841.
In August 2007, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society announced that it had found the wreckage of Cyprus, a 420-foot (130 m) long, century-old ore carrier. Cyprus sank during a Lake Superior storm on October 11, 1907, during its second voyage while hauling iron ore from Superior, Wisconsin, to Buffalo, New York. The entire crew of 23 drowned, except one, Charles Pitz, who floated on a life raft for almost seven hours.
In June 2008, deep sea divers in Lake Ontario found the wreck of the 1780 Royal Navy warship HMS Ontario in what has been described as an "archaeological miracle". There are no plans to raise her as the site is being treated as a war grave.
In June 2010, L.R. Doty was found in Lake Michigan by an exploration diving team led by dive boat Captain Jitka Hanakova from her boat the Molly V. The ship sank in October 1898, probably attempting to rescue a small schooner, Olive Jeanette, during a terrible storm.
Still missing are the two last warships to sink in the Great Lakes, the French minesweepers, Inkerman and Cerisoles, which vanished in Lake Superior during a blizzard in 1918. 78 lives were lost making it the largest loss of life in Lake Superior and the greatest unexplained loss of life in the Great Lakes.
In 1872, a treaty gave access to the St. Lawrence River to the United States, and access to Lake Michigan to the Dominion of Canada. The International Joint Commission was established in 1909 to help prevent and resolve disputes relating to the use and quality of boundary waters, and to advise Canada and the United States on questions related to water resources. Concerns over diversion of Lake water are of concern to both Americans and Canadians. Some water is diverted through the Chicago River to operate the Illinois Waterway but the flow is limited by treaty. Possible schemes for bottled water plants and diversion to dry regions of the continent raise concerns. Under the U.S. "Water Resources Development Act", diversion of water from the Great Lakes Basin requires the approval of all eight Great Lakes governors through the Great Lakes Commission, which rarely occurs. International treaties regulate large diversions.
In 1998, the Canadian company Nova Group won approval from the Province of Ontario to withdraw 158,000,000 U.S. gallons (600,000 m3) of Lake Superior water annually to ship by tanker to Asian countries. Public outcry forced the company to abandon the plan before it began. Since that time, the eight Great Lakes Governors and the Premiers of Ontario and Quebec have negotiated the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact that would prevent most future diversion proposals and all long-distance ones. The agreements strengthen protection against abusive water withdrawal practices within the Great Lakes basin. On December 13, 2005, the Governors and Premiers signed these two agreements, the first of which is between all ten jurisdictions. It is somewhat more detailed and protective, though its legal strength has not yet been tested in court. The second, the Great Lakes Compact, has been approved by the state legislatures of all eight states that border the Great Lakes as well as the U.S. Congress, and was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 3, 2008.
The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, described as "the largest investment in the Great Lakes in two decades," was funded at $475 million in the U.S. federal government's Fiscal Year 2011 budget, and $300 million in the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. Through the program a coalition of federal agencies is making grants to local and state entities for toxics cleanups, wetlands and coastline restoration projects, and invasive species-related projects.
In 2006, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) proposed a plan to designate 34 areas in the Great Lakes, at least 5 mi (8 km) offshore, as permanent safety zones for live fire machine gun practice. In August 2006, the plan was published in the Federal Register. The USCG reserved the right to hold target practice whenever the weather allowed with a two-hour notice. These firing ranges would be open to the public when not in use. In response to requests from the public, the Coast Guard held a series of public meetings in nine U.S. cities to solicit comment. During these meetings many people voiced concerns about the plan and its impact on the environment. On December 18, 2006, the Coast Guard announced its decision to withdraw the entire proposal. Officials said they would look into alternative ammunition, modifying the proposed zones and have more public dialogue before proposing a new plan.
Dynamically updated dataAfrican Great Lakes
The African Great Lakes (Swahili: Maziwa Makuu) are a series of lakes constituting the part of the Rift Valley lakes in and around the East African Rift. They include Lake Victoria, the third-largest fresh water lake in the world by area, and Lake Tanganyika, the world's second-largest freshwater lake by volume and depth. Collectively, they contain 31,000 km3 (7400 cu mi) of water, which is more than either Lake Baikal or the North American Great Lakes. This total constitutes about 25% of the planet's unfrozen surface fresh water.
The large rift lakes of Africa are the ancient home of great biodiversity; 10% of the world's fish species live there.
Countries in the African Great Lakes region (sometimes also called Greater Lakes region) include Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. A conference was held on the lakes region in 2017 in Uganda.The Great Lakes area, where colonial era borders cut through ethnic groups, has in the last 20 years been a crucible of conflict that has launched multiple uprisings and invasions. The United Nations, the United States, and several European countries have special envoys or representatives to the Great Lakes region. On June 18, 2013, Russ Feingold was appointed United States Special Representative for the region by United States Secretary of State John Kerry. He announced his departure from the position on February 24, 2015. Laurence D. Wohlers was appointed to the position in January 2017.Great Lakes Avengers
The Great Lakes Avengers (also known as The Lightning Rods, The Great Lakes X-Men, The Great Lakes Champions, and The Great Lakes Initiative) are a fictional superhero team appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The characters were introduced in West Coast Avengers #46 (July 1989), and were created by John Byrne.Great Lakes Megalopolis
The Great Lakes Megalopolis consists of the group of metropolitan areas in North America largely in the Great Lakes region and along the Saint Lawrence Seaway. To its south and west, it lies in the Midwestern United States, extending east into western Pennsylvania and Upstate New York, as well as north to Southern Ontario and the southern part of Quebec in Canada. It is the largest and most populated megalopolis in North America.
At its most inclusive, the region cuts a wide swath from the Twin Cities in Minnesota to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Rochester, New York. On the Canadian side, it extends as far east as Quebec City. Further south, the region is commonly considered to include St. Louis, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville, Kentucky, and Columbus, Ohio. Within this broad region, there is a smaller core area that includes Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Toronto. The larger region, including fringe areas, had an estimated population of 59,144,461 as of 2011. It is projected to reach a population of approximately 65 million by 2025.Great Lakes Storm of 1913
The Great Lakes Storm of 1913, historically referred to as the "Big Blow," the "Freshwater Fury," or the "White Hurricane," was a blizzard with hurricane-force winds that devastated the Great Lakes Basin in the Midwestern United States and the province of Ontario in Canada from November 7 through November 10, 1913. The storm was most powerful on November 9, battering and overturning ships on four of the five Great Lakes, particularly Lake Huron. Deceptive lulls in the storm and the slow pace of weather reports contributed to the storm's destructiveness.The deadliest and most destructive natural disaster to hit the lakes in recorded history, the Great Lakes Storm killed more than 250 people, destroyed 19 ships, and stranded 19 others. The financial loss in vessels alone was nearly US $5 million (or about $126,751,000 in today's dollars). This included about $1 million at current value in lost cargo totalling about 68,300 tons, such as coal, iron ore, and grain.The storm, an extratropical cyclone, originated as the convergence of two major storm fronts, fueled by the lakes' relatively warm waters—a seasonal process called a "November gale". It produced 90 mph (145 km/h) wind gusts, waves over 35 feet (11 m) high, and whiteout snowsqualls. Analysis of the storm and its impact on humans, engineering structures, and the landscape led to better forecasting and faster responses to storm warnings, stronger construction (especially of marine vessels), and improved preparedness.Great Lakes region
The Great Lakes region of North America is a bi-national Canada-American region that includes portions of the eight U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as well as the Canadian province of Ontario. The region centers on the Great Lakes and forms a distinctive historical, economic, and cultural identity. A portion of the region also encompasses the Great Lakes Megalopolis.
The Great Lakes Commission, authorized by the region's American states and Province of Ontario, and the additional Canadian Province of Quebec, comprises a bi-national authority with specified powers to protect and preserve the water and environmental resources of the Great Lakes and surrounding waterways and aquifers. The Commission's authorities are confirmed by the Canadian and American federal governments, and by its constituent states and provinces. The states and provinces are represented in the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers.
The Great Lakes region takes its name from the corresponding geological formation of the Great Lakes Basin, a narrow watershed encompassing The Great Lakes, bounded by watersheds to the region's north (Hudson Bay), west (Mississippi), east and south (Ohio). To the east, the rivers of St. Lawrence, Richelieu, Hudson, Mohawk and Susquehanna form an arc of watersheds east to The Atlantic.
The Great Lakes region, as distinct from the Great Lakes Basin, defines a unit of sub-national political entities defined by the U.S. states and the Canadian Province of Ontario encompassing the Great Lakes watershed, and the states and Province bordering one or more of the Great Lakes.Lake Erie
Lake Erie () is the fourth-largest lake (by surface area) of the five Great Lakes in North America, and the eleventh-largest globally if measured in terms of surface area. It is the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes and therefore also has the shortest average water residence time. At its deepest point Lake Erie is 210 feet (64 metres) deep.
Situated on the International Boundary between Canada and the United States, Lake Erie's northern shore is the Canadian province of Ontario, specifically the Ontario Peninsula, with the U.S. states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York on its western, southern, and eastern shores. These jurisdictions divide the surface area of the lake with water boundaries.
The lake was named by the Erie people, a Native American people who lived along its southern shore. The tribal name "erie" is a shortened form of the Iroquoian word erielhonan, meaning "long tail".Situated below Lake Huron, Erie's primary inlet is the Detroit River. The main natural outflow from the lake is via the Niagara River, which provides hydroelectric power to Canada and the U.S. as it spins huge turbines near Niagara Falls at Lewiston, New York and Queenston, Ontario. Some outflow occurs via the Welland Canal, part of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which diverts water for ship passages from Port Colborne, Ontario on Lake Erie, to St. Catharines on Lake Ontario, an elevation difference of 326 ft (99 m). Lake Erie's environmental health has been an ongoing concern for decades, with issues such as overfishing, pollution, algae blooms, and eutrophication generating headlines.Lake Huron
Lake Huron is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Hydrologically, it comprises the easterly portion of Lake Michigan–Huron, having the same surface elevation as its westerly counterpart, to which it is connected by the 5-mile-wide (8.0 km), 20-fathom-deep (120 ft; 37 m) Straits of Mackinac. It is shared on the north and east by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the south and west by the state of Michigan in the United States. The name of the lake is derived from early French explorers who named it for the Huron people inhabiting the region.
The Huronian glaciation was named due to evidence collected from Lake Huron region. The northern parts of the lake include the North Channel and Georgian Bay. Across the lake to the southwest is Saginaw Bay. The main inlet is the St. Marys River, and the main outlet is the St. Clair River.Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. The other four Great Lakes are shared by the U.S. and Canada. It is the second-largest of the Great Lakes by volume (1,180 cu mi (4,900 km3)) and the third-largest by surface area (22,404 sq mi (58,030 km2)), after Lake Superior and Lake Huron (and is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of West Virginia). To the east, its basin is conjoined with that of Lake Huron through the wide Straits of Mackinac, giving it the same surface elevation as its easterly counterpart; the two are technically a single lake.Lake Michigan is shared, from west to east, by the U.S. states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. Ports along its shores include Chicago; Milwaukee; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Gary, Indiana; and Muskegon, Michigan. The word "Michigan" originally referred to the lake itself, and is believed to come from the Ojibwe word michi-gami meaning "great water".Lake Ontario
Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is surrounded on the north, west, and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south and east by the American state of New York, whose water boundaries meet in the middle of the lake. Ontario, Canada's most populous province, was named for the lake. Many of Ontario's most populous cities, including Toronto, Canada's most populous city, and Hamilton, are on the lake's northern or western shores. In the Huron language, the name Ontarí'io means "Lake of Shining Waters". Its primary inlet is the Niagara River from Lake Erie. The last in the Great Lakes chain, Lake Ontario serves as the outlet to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence River. It is the only Great Lake not to border the state of Michigan.Lake Superior
Lake Superior (French: Lac Supérieur; Ojibwe: ᑭᑦᒉᐁ-ᑲᒣᐁ, Gitchi-Gami), the largest of the Great Lakes of North America, is also the world's largest freshwater lake by surface area, and the third largest freshwater lake by volume. The lake 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. The farthest north and west of the Great Lakes chain, Superior has the highest elevation of all five great lakes and drains into the St. Mary's River.Lake freighter
Lake freighters, or lakers, are bulk carrier vessels that ply the Great Lakes of North America. These vessels are traditionally called boats, although classified as ships.Since the late 19th century, Lakers carry bulk cargoes of materials such as limestone, iron ore, grain, coal, or salt from the mines and fields of the upper Great Lakes to the populous industrial areas down the lakes. The 63 commercial ports handled 173 million tons of cargo in 2006. Because of winter ice on the lakes, the navigation season is not usually year-round. The Soo Locks and Welland Canal close from mid-January to late March, when most boats are laid up for maintenance. Crewmembers spend these months ashore.
Depending on their application, lakers may also be referred to by their type, such as oreboats (primarily for iron ore), straight deckers (no self-unloading gear), bulkers (carry bulk cargo), sternenders (all cabins aft), self unloaders (with self unloading gear), longboats (for their slender appearance), or lakeboats, among others.
In the mid-20th century, 300 lakers worked the Lakes, but by the early 21st century there were fewer than 140 active lakers. SS Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in 1975, became widely known as the most recent and largest major vessel to be wrecked on the Great Lakes.Michigan
Michigan ( (listen)) is a state in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. The state's name, Michigan, originates from the Ojibwe word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake". With a population of about 10 million, Michigan is the tenth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area, and is the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Metro Detroit is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies.
Michigan is the only state to consist of two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula, to which the name Michigan was originally applied, is often noted as shaped like a mitten. The Upper Peninsula (often called "the U.P.") is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile (8 km) channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The Mackinac Bridge connects the peninsulas. The state has the longest freshwater coastline of any political subdivision in the world, being bounded by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake Saint Clair. As a result, it is one of the leading U.S. states for recreational boating. Michigan also has 64,980 inland lakes and ponds. A person in the state is never more than six miles (9.7 km) from a natural water source or more than 85 miles (137 km) from a Great Lakes shoreline.The area was first settled by Native American tribes, whose successive cultures occupied the territory for thousands of years. Colonized by French explorers in the 17th century, it was claimed as part of New France. After France's defeat in the French and Indian War in 1762, the region came under British rule. Britain ceded this territory to the newly independent United States after Britain's defeat in the American Revolutionary War. The area was part of the larger Northwest Territory until 1800, when western Michigan became part of the Indiana Territory. Michigan Territory was formed in 1805, but some of the northern border with Canada was not agreed upon until after the War of 1812. Michigan was admitted into the Union in 1837 as the 26th state, a free one. It soon became an important center of industry and trade in the Great Lakes region and a popular immigrant destination in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Although Michigan developed a diverse economy, it is widely known as the center of the U.S. automotive industry, which developed as a major economic force in the early 20th century. It is home to the country's three major automobile companies (whose headquarters are all within the Detroit metropolitan area). While sparsely populated, the Upper Peninsula is important for tourism thanks to its abundance of natural resources, while the Lower Peninsula is a center of manufacturing, forestry, agriculture, services, and high-tech industry.Midwestern United States
The Midwestern United States, also referred to as the American Midwest, Middle West, or simply the Midwest, is one of four census regions of the United States Census Bureau (also known as "Region 2"). It occupies the northern central part of the United States. It was officially named the North Central Region by the Census Bureau until 1984. It is located between the Northeastern United States and the Western United States, with Canada to its north and the Southern United States to its south.
The Census Bureau's definition consists of 12 states in the north central United States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The region generally lies on the broad Interior Plain between the states occupying the Appalachian Mountain range and the states occupying the Rocky Mountain range. Major rivers in the region include, from east to west, the Ohio River, the Upper Mississippi River, and the Missouri River. A 2012 report from the United States Census put the population of the Midwest at 65,377,684. The Midwest is divided by the Census Bureau into two divisions. The East North Central Division includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, all of which are also part of the Great Lakes region. The West North Central Division includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, and South Dakota, several of which are located, at least partly, within the Great Plains region.
Chicago is the most populous city in the American Midwest and the third most populous in the entire country. Other large Midwestern cities include (in order by population): Columbus, Indianapolis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Omaha, Minneapolis, Wichita, Cleveland, St. Louis, St. Paul, Cincinnati, Madison, and Des Moines. Chicago and its suburbs form the largest metropolitan statistical area with 9.9 million people, followed by Metro Detroit, Minneapolis–St. Paul, Greater St. Louis, Greater Cleveland, Greater Cincinnati, the Kansas City metro area, and the Columbus metro area.Naval Station Great Lakes
Naval Station Great Lakes (NAVSTA Great Lakes) is the home of the United States Navy's only boot camp, located near North Chicago, in Lake County, Illinois. Important tenant commands include the Recruit Training Command, Training Support Center and Navy Recruiting District Chicago. Naval Station Great Lakes is the largest military installation in Illinois and the largest training station in the Navy. The base has 1,153 buildings situated on 1,628 acres (6.59 km2) and has 69 miles (111 km) of roadway to provide access to the base's facilities. Within the naval service, it has several different nicknames, including "The Quarterdeck of the Navy", or the more derogatory "Great Mistakes".The original 39 buildings built between 1905 and 1911 were designed by Jarvis Hunt.The base is like a small city, with its own Fire Department, Naval Security Forces (Police), and Public Works Department.
One of the landmarks of the area is Building 1, also known as the clocktower building. Completed in 1911, the building is made of red brick, and has a tower over the third floor of the building. The large parade ground in front of the administration building is named Ross Field.Premier League of America
The Premier League of America (PLA) was an American soccer league consisting of teams in cities in the Great Lakes region of the United States. The league was a part of the United States Adult Soccer Association. It began its first season of play in 2015 as the Great Lakes Premier League, and at the end of the 2017 season its member clubs moved to become the Midwest Division of the United Premier Soccer League.Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois
Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes (RTC Great Lakes), is a unit within the United States Navy primarily responsible for conducting the initial orientation and indoctrination of incoming recruits. It is part of Naval Service Training Command, and is located at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois.
RTC Great Lakes is also commonly referred to as boot camp and recruit training, or RTC. Since the BRAC-directed closures of Recruit Training Commands in Orlando, Florida in 1994 and San Diego, California in 1993, RTC Great Lakes has been the only enlisted basic training location in the U.S. Navy and has been called "The Quarterdeck of the Navy" since it was first utilized in July 1911.
Running at approximately eight weeks long, all enlistees into the U.S. Navy commence their enlistments at this command. Some recruits may take longer than eight weeks if they do not pass certain tests. Upon successful completion of basic training, qualifying sailors are sent to various apprenticeship, or "A schools", located across the United States for training in their occupational speciality, or ratings. Those who have not yet received a specific rating enter the fleet with a general designation of airman, fireman, or seaman. Recruit Training Command is located at Naval Station Great Lakes in the city of North Chicago, Illinois in Lake County, north of Chicago. It is a tenant command, meaning that although it is located on the base, it has a separate chain of command.SS Edmund Fitzgerald
SS Edmund Fitzgerald was an American Great Lakes freighter that sank in a Lake Superior storm on November 10, 1975, with the loss of the entire crew of 29. When launched on June 7, 1958, she was the largest ship on North America's Great Lakes, and she remains the largest to have sunk there.
For 17 years, Edmund Fitzgerald carried taconite iron ore from mines near Duluth, Minnesota, to iron works in Detroit, Toledo, and other Great Lakes ports. As a workhorse, she set seasonal haul records six times, often breaking her own previous record. Captain Peter Pulcer was known for piping music day or night over the ship's intercom while passing through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers (between Lakes Huron and Erie), and entertaining spectators at the Soo Locks (between Lakes Superior and Huron) with a running commentary about the ship. Her size, record-breaking performance, and "DJ captain" endeared Edmund Fitzgerald to boat watchers.Carrying a full cargo of ore pellets with Captain Ernest M. McSorley in command, she embarked on her ill-fated voyage from Superior, Wisconsin, near Duluth, on the afternoon of November 9, 1975. En route to a steel mill near Detroit, Edmund Fitzgerald joined a second freighter, SS Arthur M. Anderson. By the next day, the two ships were caught in a severe storm on Lake Superior, with near hurricane-force winds and waves up to 35 feet (11 m) high. Shortly after 7:10 p.m., Edmund Fitzgerald suddenly sank in Canadian (Ontario) waters 530 feet (88 fathoms; 160 m) deep, about 17 miles (15 nautical miles; 27 kilometers) from Whitefish Bay near the twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario—a distance Edmund Fitzgerald could have covered in just over an hour at her top speed. Although Edmund Fitzgerald had reported being in difficulty earlier, no distress signals were sent before she sank; Captain McSorley's last message to Arthur M. Anderson said, "We are holding our own." Her crew of 29 perished, and no bodies were recovered. The exact cause of the sinking remains unknown, though many books, studies, and expeditions have examined it. Edmund Fitzgerald may have been swamped, suffered structural failure or topside damage, been shoaled, or suffered from a combination of these.
The disaster is one of the best-known in the history of Great Lakes shipping. Gordon Lightfoot made it the subject of his 1976 hit song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" after reading an article, "The Cruelest Month", in the November 24, 1975, issue of Newsweek. The sinking led to changes in Great Lakes shipping regulations and practices that included mandatory survival suits, depth finders, positioning systems, increased freeboard, and more frequent inspection of vessels.Saint Lawrence Seaway
The Saint Lawrence Seaway (French: la Voie Maritime du Saint-Laurent) is a system of locks, canals, and channels in Canada and the United States that permits oceangoing vessels to travel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes of North America, as far inland as the western end of Lake Superior. The seaway is named for the Saint Lawrence River, which flows from Lake Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean. Legally, the seaway extends from Montreal, Quebec, to Lake Erie and includes the Welland Canal.
The Saint Lawrence River portion of the seaway is not a continuous canal; rather, it consists of several stretches of navigable channels within the river, a number of locks, and canals along the banks of the Saint Lawrence River to bypass several rapids and dams. A number of the locks are managed by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation in Canada, and others in the United States by the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation; the two bodies together advertise the seaway as part of "Highway H2O". The section of the river from Montreal to the Atlantic is under Canadian jurisdiction, regulated by the offices of Transport Canada in the Port of Quebec.Smelt (fish)
Smelts are a family of small fish, the Osmeridae, found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They are also known as freshwater smelts or typical smelts to distinguish them from the related Argentinidae, Bathylagidae, and Retropinnidae.
Some smelt species are common in the North American Great Lakes, and in the lakes and seas of the northern part of Europe, where they run in large schools along the saltwater coastline during spring migration to their spawning streams. In some western parts of the United States, smelt populations have greatly declined in recent decades, leading to their protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Delta smelt, Hypomesus transpacificus, found in the Sacramento Delta of California, and the Columbia River smelt, Eulachon, are both protected from harvest.
Some species of smelts are among the few fish that sportsmen have been allowed to net, using hand-held dip nets, either along the coastline or in streams. Some sportsmen also ice fish for smelt. They are often fried and eaten whole.