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Great Lakes Geography

3 | Introduction to the Great Lakes

Lake Superior highlighted in yellow.

Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes in surface area and volume. In fact, Superior has the largest surface area of any freshwater lake in the world. Rocky cliffs on Lake Superior show the effects of prolonged wind and waves. Click for a larger image.The lake stretches 350 miles from west to east and 160 miles north to south. Its shoreline is nearly 2,800 miles long. Superior is also the coldest and deepest of the five Great Lakes. Average depths are close to 500 feet; the deepest point in the lake reaches 1,332 feet.

Fun Facts
Miner's Castle rock formation at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Click for a larger image. Lake Superior's volume is so large that it could contain all the other Great Lakes plus three additional lakes the size of Lake Erie.

In 1985, scientists using a submersible vessel descended for the first time to the deepest part of Lake Superior (-1,332 ft./-405 m), near the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan waters.

More about Lake Superior

Graphics: Basin map with Lake Superior highlighted; rocky cliffs on the shores of Isle Royale show the effects of prolonged wind and waves; Miner's Castle rock formation at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

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