When you live in Michigan, the Great Lakes are as much a part of life as anything else. Even if you don’t live in sight of one, you’ve probably heard stories of summers at the shore or have taken your own pilgrimage to the lakes. Making up 95 percent of the U.S. surface water supply with a combined six quadrillion gallons of water (half of which comes from Lake Superior), the Great Lakes of North America are truly a force with which to be reckoned.
If you weren’t already familiar with our amazing lakes, don’t fret—ing is here to help you dive a little deeper and explore the great unknown:
- The lake’s name comes from the French word ‘lac supérieur’, meaning upper lake.
- If you combined all four of the other Great Lakes and three more similar in size to Erie, it would be roughly the size of Superior.
- Superior has enough water to submerge all of North and South America in one foot of water.
- The S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald freighter sank on November 10, 1975 during a storm on Superior, killing 29 people.
- There are about 100 million lake trout in Superior, which is equal to about one-fifth of the North American human population.
- The lake is named for the Wyandot Indians who lived there.
- The Goderich Mine, part of which runs under Huron, is the largest salt mine in the world.
- Below Huron, there are nine thousand-year-old animal-herding structures that were used by prehistoric people.
- There are massive sinkholes in Huron that have high amounts of sulfur and low amounts of oxygen which show traces of ancient lifeforms.
- The lakes Huron and Michigan would be one lake if the Straits of Mackinac did not exist.
- The name of the lake was derived from the Ojibwa Indian word “mishigami,” which means “large lake.”
- Michigan has the largest freshwater sand dunes in the world.
- Similar to the Bermuda Triangle, Michigan has a triangle-sized space where a large amount of “strange disappearances” have occurred; this is often blamed on the strange rock formation that lies beneath that area.
- In the mid-19th century, Michigan had a “pirate problem,” mostly with lumber.
- Michigan is the only Great Lake completely within U.S. borders.
- The name of the lake was derived from “erielhonan,” the Iroquoian word for “long tail.”
- Erie is the warmest of all of the Great Lakes at an average of 55 degrees, but it also freezes over the most.
- There is an alleged 30-40 foot long “monster” in Erie named “Bessie,” with sightings happening since 1793.
- Dr. Seuss’s story The Lorax originally had a line about Erie, but 14 years later he removed it at the request of the Ohio Sea Grant Program.
- In the War of 1812, the U.S. beat Britain in a naval battle on Erie, forcing the British to abandon Detroit.
- The lake’s name comes from the Huron word for “lake of shining water.”
- The province Ontario was named after the lake (not vice versa).
- A lake called “Ontario Lacus” on Saturn’s moon, Titan, was named after Ontario.
- The Thousand Islands region in the lake is made up of 1,864 islands that lie along the U.S.-Canada border.
- Babe Ruth hit his first home run in the major leagues in Toronto; it went into Ontario and was never found.
Now that you know more about our lakes, make sure to pay a visit to them before the end of the summer season to see how truly “great” they are!
Holly Bronson is a senior studying professional writing and arts and humanities, with a minor in peace and justice studies. In her rare free time, she loves to drink Earl Grey tea while thoroughly analyzing Harry Potter and telling lengthy stories from her various adventures around the globe. 🙂 Check out her portfolio at hollybbronson.com!