'Can you see to the other side of Lake Superior?'

That’s what I was asked once while on my 50-state Hometown Invasion Tour. I don’t want to drop any names of who it was, but clearly someone a long ways away from the Great Lakes Region. This adult was someone who I saw as well educated, and I believe any U.S. citizen should be able to answer this question with ease. However, that’s easy to say for those who live only a few hundred yards off the shore of Lake Superior. Throughout my trip I was frequently educated people on the Great Lakes and wanted to share…

Lake Superior map

Why Lake Superior is the Greatest Lake on Earth, and why it kicks your lake’s butt…

How big is Lake Superior?

  • Largest fresh water lake in the world (by surface area)
  • Surface area: 31,820 square miles
  • Water volume: 2,900 cubic miles
  • Shore length: 2,725 miles
  • Maximum length: 350 miles
  • Maximum width: 160 miles
  • Surface elevation: 609 feet
  • Average depth: 482 feet
  • Maximum depth: 1,332 feet
  • Maximum depth: 723 feet below sea level

There is enough water in Lake Superior to cover the entire land mass of North and South America with a foot of water.

How Lake Superior compares

  • Lake Superior is the size of South Carolina
  • Lake Superior is larger than 10 states: WV, MD, HI, MA, VT, NH, NJ, CT, DE, and RI
  • Lake Superior is larger than the countries of: Czech Republic, Ireland, Latvia, Croatia, Switzerland, Belgium, Rwanda, and dozens of others
  • Lake Superior is 33.6% of the entire surface area and 53.5% of the entire volume of all Great Lakes combined
  • Lake Superior is 18.7 times greater in surface area than the Great Salt Lake
  • Lake Superior is 2.6 times greater in surface area than Lake Baikal, however, Lake Baikal has twice the volume
  • At the deepest point Lake Superior would drown the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty and the John Hancock Center (The Sears Tower will still stand 398 feet out the water)

Many people near Lake Champlain consider it to be the “6th Great Lake”. Lake Superior is 28 times greater in surface area, and 465 times the water volume than Lake Champlain.

Other Lake Superior facts…

  • Gichigami is the Ojibwa word for Lake Superior meaning “big water”
  • Many people believe that Lake Superior resembles a wolf’s head (facing west)
  • The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was the last major ship wreck in 1975
  • The surface area temperature has risen 4.5 degrees since 1979
  • Lake Superior has been described as the most oligotrophic (clearest) lake in the world
  • Over 300 rivers and streams flow into Lake Superior
  • Contains ~10% of all the Earth’s fresh water
  • The average surface temperature is 40 degrees
  • 1979 was the last complete freeze over
  • Produces some of the greatest lake-effect snowstorms on earth
  • ~40 miles north of Munising, MI is the deepest point at 1,332 feet
  • Annual reports of waves that are over 30 feet high
  • At 10,000 years old it is one of the youngest major features on earth (Lake Baikal in Russia is 25 million years old)
  • Features over 60 species of fish

So, it’s my turn to ask, can you see to the other side of Lake Superior? I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

Source: Wiki Photo by Sharon Mollerus on Flickr