Sources: Various including the Great Lakes Information Network
List Notes: The Great Lakes are a group of five freshwater lakes located in North America.
Share on Social Media:
The Great Lakes hold an incredible 6 quadrillion gallons of water (by recent estimates) which is about one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water supply and nine-tenths of the U.S. supply. Only the polar ice caps and Lake Baikal in Siberia contain more fresh water.
If the Great Lakes were spread evenly across the adjoining 48 states, the newly created "lake" water would be about 9.5 feet deep.
The total area of these lakes is more than 94,000 square miles/244,000 square kilometres of water. This is larger than the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire combined. They are sometimes referred to as "inland seas".
Lake Superior is called "superior" not because it's the largest Great Lake but because it is higher upstream than the others. Lake Huron, discovered by the French was called "La Mer Douce" or the "Sweet Sea" (sweet meaning fresh water). On later maps it became known as "Lac des Hurons" which means Lake of the Huron Indians. Lake Erie comes from "Eries", a tribe of Indians. This name is always mentioned by the early French writers as meaning "cat"; Lac du Chat means "Lake of the Cat." Lake Michigan has had many names, among them: "Lake of the Stinking Water", "Lake of the Puants," "Lac des Illinois", "Lac St. Joseph", and also "Lac Dauphin" One indian name for Lake Michigan was "Michi gami." Champlain first called Lake Ontario "Lake St. Louis". In 1660, Franciscus Creuxius a map maker, gave it the name Lacus Ontarius. Ontara in Iroquois means "lake," and Ontario, "beautiful lake."
The Great Lakes have a total of 17,549 kms of coastline (including connecting channels, mainland and islands). The Great Lakes shoreline is equal to almost 44 percent of the circumference of the earth.