The Great Five Lakes of Canada – largest body of fresh water

The Great Five Lakes Of Canada

The Great Lakes are (Superior, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Erie). They make the largest body of fresh water on Earth, that covers about 1/5 of the water surface on the planet, 21% of the world's surface water by volume.The Great Lakes cover an area of 246,463 square kilometers. The lakes are connected to the Atlantic Ocean through the Saint Lawrence River. These lakes have been a major source for fishing, transportation and trade. Also they serve as a habitat for a large number of aquatic species and biodiversity. The lakes played a central role in the European colonization and development of North America and for decades have attracted Tourists and industry.

Superior Lake

This is the second largest lake in the world. At 82,100 square km. after the Caspian Sea .. It is the largest in surface area and in water volume of 12,100 cubic km, Its name came from the French word Lac Sup’erieur, meaning upper lake, as it is located north of Lake Huron

Lake Huron

Named Huron by the Hurons, the Wyandot Indians who lived there. Lake Huron is the second largest Great Lake by surface area of 59,600 square km and has the longest shoreline of 6,157 km, taking into account its many islands

Lake Ontario

Ontario is names bu the Huron, the word means "lake of shining water". This lake is the smallest one of the Great Lakes, with surface area of 18,960 square km. While it is similar in width and length to Lake Erie, it is much deeper and holds about four times the water volume of 1,640 cubic km. Furthermore, Lake Ontario is at the base of Niagara Falls.

Lake Erie

The name came from erielhonan the Iroquoian word for "long tail" which describes the shape. It is the fourth largest lake when measured in surface area of 25,700 square km. and the smallest by water volume 484 cubic km.

Lake Michigan

The name came from the Ojibwa Indian word “Mishigami” That means "large lake". It is the third largest of the Great Lakes with water surface of 57,800 square km. It has an unusual water flow that goes in almost a cul-de-sac formation, moving slowly in a circular pattern. Also It is located entirely in the United States. Michigan.

Lake Michigan–Huron

Lakes Michigan and Huron are sometimes considered as one single lake, called Lake Michigan–Huron, because they are one hydrological body of water connected by the Straits of Mackinac. The straits are 8 km wide and 37 m deep. The water levels is at 176 m, and the flow between Huron and Michigan reverses direction.


The lakes form a chain that connect the east central interior of North America to the Atlantic Ocean. The water flows from Superior to Huron and Michigan lakes, and flows south to Erie, and then northward all the way to Lake Ontario. The lakes drain a large watershed via many rivers, and are studded with approximately 35,000 islands. There are also thousands of smaller lakes, 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 are located between the United States and Canada. The lakes are divided among the Canadian province of Ontario and the United states of Wisconsin, Michigan, illinos, Minnesota, Indiana, Pennsylvania New York and Ohio. Both Michigan and Ontario include in their boundaries portions of four of the lakes. Wisconsin and New York jurisdictions extend into two lakes, and all the remaining states into one of the lakes. The Great Lakes and their surrounding lands have a wide variety of freshwater and terrestrial habitats including coniferous and hardwood forests, freshwater wetlands, freshwater marshes, dunes, prairies and , grasslands .


The Great Lakes have a humid continental climate In the winter, the Great Lakes experiences cold days and long nights. The northern hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun, so solar energy is spread thin, and the sun rises and sets south of the equator. In the summer, the Great Lakes Region experiences warm days and short nights because the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun so solar heating is more concentrated and efficient. Also, the Sun rises and sets north of the Equator between the summer solstice and autumal equinox lengthening hours of daylight. The massive Lakes act like heat sinks that moderate the temperatures of the surrounding land, warming the winters and cooling the summers. The lakes also act like humidifiers, increasing the moisture content of the air. In the winter, this moisture contributes to heavy snowfall known as “lake effect” snow .

Organisims Living in the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes region supports a diverse fauna that includes numerous species of and fishes, mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. The organisms living depends on how deep the water is. The deep waters contain organisms that can be found only in deep, These include the delicate opossum shrimp. The deepwater scud, two types of copepods and the deepwater sculpin.   There are more than 250 species of fishes found in the Great Lakes including bluegill, Chinook salmon, brook trout, Atlantic salmon, Coho salmon, northern pike, freshwater drum, lake sturgeon, rock bass, lake trout, white perch, lake whitefish, walleye, yellow perch, and many others. Native mammals include the black bear, elk, white-tailed deer, fox, moose, river otter, beaver, coyote, Canada lynx, gray wolf, and many others. Bird species native to the Great Lakes include snowy owls, herring gulls, whooping cranes, bald eagles, wood ducks, piping plovers, great blue herons and more.The most recent non-native animal to the Great Lakes is the spiny water flea.

The Economy

Early interest in the lakes was stimulated by the easy transportation route that they offered into the heartland of the continent. The value of the extensive forests and fertile land in the region was soon realized, and lumbering and agriculture became important. Large coalfields and deposits of iron, copper, salt, limestone, and other minerals were found along or near the extensive shorelines. The combination of these vast resources with a plentiful water supply naturally favoured the development of huge industries and large metropolitan areas around the Great Lakes. Major urbanized areas include a band that extends from Milwaukee through Chicago and around southern Lake Michigan, a band that stretches southward from Detroit and then continues along the southern shore of Lake Erie and the Toronto Hamilton area on the northern shore of Lake Ontario.


The ranges around Lake Superio such as the Mesabi in Minnesota and the Marquette in Michigan are a major source of iron ore for the United States. In 1953 almost 100 million net tons were produced. The large deposits of rich ores have since been depleted, but low grade taconite ores are now efficiently processed into iron ore pellets. Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Peninsula was once a major source of copper. Also Sand dunes along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan are valued for their beauty and as a source of clean sand for industry.

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