Superior Facts

Superior Facts

To call Lake Superior a lake is really a misnomer. It is an inland sea belonging to the largest fresh water system in the world. It is 383 miles long and 160 miles wide at is greatest breath.

Great Lakes System Profile

Lake Superior is not the largest fresh body of water in the world. Lake Baykal (Baikal) in Russia, because of its great depths (5,000 feet in some places) has the greatest volume of fresh water on Earth at 6 quadrillion gallons.  Lake Tanganyika in east Africa is second with 5 quadrillion gallons followed by Lake Superior at 3 quadrillion (3,000,000,000,000,000) gallons.

Lake Superior Facts

  • Lake Superior contains 10% for all the freshwater on the planet Earth
  • It covers 82,000 square kilometers or 31,700 square miles.
  • The averaged depth is 147 meters or 483 feet.
  • There have been about 350 shipwrecks recorded on Lake Superior.
  • Lake Superior is, by surface area the largest lake in the world.
  • A Jesuit priest in 1868 name it Lac Tracy, but the name was never officially adopted.
  • It contains as much water as all the other Great Lakes combined plus 3 extra Lake Erie’s.
  • There is a small outflow from the lake at St. Mary’s (Sault Ste. Marie) into the Lake Huron, but it takes almost 2 centuries for the water to be completely replaced.
  • There is enough water in Lake Superior to cover all of North and South America with a foot of water.
  • Lake Superior was formed during the last glacial retreat making it one of the Earth’s youngest major features at about 10,00 years old.
  • The deepest point in the lake is 405 meters or 1,333 feet.
  • There are 78 different species of fish that call the big lake home.
  • The maximum wave ever recorded on Lake Superior was 51 feet near Whitefish Bay.
  • If you stretched the shoreline of Lake Superior out into a straight line it would be long enough to reach from Duluth to the Bahamas.
  • Over 300 streams and rivers empty into Lake Superior with the largest being the Nipigon River.
  • The average underwater visibility of Lake Superior is about 8 meters or 27 feet making it the clearest and cleanest of the Great Lakes.  65-75 feet of visibility in some areas.
  • In the summer the sun sets more than 35 minutes later on the western shore of Lake Superior than on the southeastern edge.
  • Some of the world’s oldest rocks formed about 2.7 billion years ago, can be found on the Ontario shore of Lake Superior.
  • Lake Superior rarely freezes over completely and then for just a few hours. Complete freezing occurred in 1962, 1979, 1997 and 2009.