Chicago is known as the “City by the Lake” because it is near to one of the country’s most well-known lakes, Lake Michigan, despite its reputation as the “Windy City.”
You may have seen the renowned Lake Michigan if you reside near Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, or Michigan. Its water surface makes it one of the Great Lakes of North America, ranking third among the five.
The Straits of Mackinac in the north connect Lake Michigan to Lake Huron, making it an open lake. There are about 100 streams and rivers that feed into the lake, the majority of which are significant in size. Yet, if you look beneath the surface, you’ll find that the lake has a lot more to offer.
Lake Michigan has a surface area and water volume that are both very large, despite not being the biggest of the five Great Lakes. What do you estimate Lake Michigan’s size to be? What else does the lake have in store for us?
Fun Facts About Lake Michigan
In the United States, there are five Great Lakes. Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Superior, and Lake Ontario are among them. For both the economies and the livelihood of a great number of individuals in the respective states, these lakes play an crucial function.
Between Canada and the United States of America, all of the Great Lakes are found in North America. The following are some interesting facts about Lake Michigan.
Jean Nicolet, a French explorer, first discovered Lake Michigan in 1634. Michigan Lake was formed when the advancing glaciers of the last Ice Age.
Because of the numerous beaches and the world’s biggest freshwater sand dunes, Lake Michigan is known as the “Third Coast.” The cities of the United States surround all of its borders, making it the only Great Lake in the world.
The shoreline of Lake Michigan stretches for about 1,650 miles (2655 kilometers) and covers around 22405 square miles (58,030 square kilometers). The Bermuda Triangle is said to exist on Lake Michigan. The ‘Michigan Triangle’ is another name for it.
In terms of volume, Lake Michigan is the second Great Lake in size, while in terms of surface area, it is the third. It is the second and third biggest lakes among the Great Lakes.
Lake Michigan is the world’s sixth biggest freshwater lake, and it provides enough drinking water as well. After diverting, Lake Michigan’s discharge is around 1175 cu mi. (4,900 cu km), which flows into the Mississippi River basin.
Lake Michigan beaches may be found all across the state. Muskegon, South Haven, Douglas, and St. Clair are among them. Many others, including Joseph, Grand Haven’s Silver Lakes Sand Dunes.
How Deep is Lake Michigan?
At its deepest point, which is in the Chippewa Basin in the north section of the lake approximately 36 miles east of Forestville, Wisconsin, Lake Michigan is 925 feet (282 meters) deep.
The lake is 279 feet (85 meters) deep on average. The average depth of the Straits of Mackinac is 120 feet (40 meters) where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron.
How Big is Lake Michigan?
While it has the third largest surface area among the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is one of the biggest lakes in the country’s boundaries. The lake stretches 321 miles or 517 kilometers long and is bordered and shared by four states: Michigan in the east and north, Illinois in the southwest, Indiana in the southeast, and Wisconsin in the west.
It can be up to 118 miles or 190 kilometers wide at its broadst point. The lake covers 22,300 square miles (57,800 square kilometers) and has wide beaches with vast dune formations. Lake Michigan is one of the world’s biggest freshwater lakes, and it is the fifth biggest lake in the world.
Almost 20% of the world’s freshwaters are found in all five Great Lakes. The North American Great Lakes constitute the world’s biggest freshwater system because they are all linked by a vast web of streams, rivers, and lakes.
The volume of water in Lake Michigan alone is roughly 1,200 cubic miles, or one quadrillion gallons. That is how gigantic it is! To lower the lake’s water level by one inch, according to satellite data, it would need to be drained for around 400 billion gallons.
Dripung Lake Michigan would take decades to finish, whereas drainong Lake Superior, North America’s biggest lake, would take about two centuries. Lake Michigan’s water replacement period is 62 years long on average.
It would take more than half a century for every single drop of water that enters the lake to leave. The lake receives about 35% of all rivers in the United States, including Michigan’s major ones. Pere Marquette, White, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Grand and St. Joseph rivers all flow into Lake Michigan. The Manistee and Joseph are two names in the same sentence.
The lake’s northern end, including the biggest island, Beaver Island, has a network of islands. Lake Michigan seems to have only a few titles in comparison to the other Great Lakes.
The Chippewa Basin, located approximately 36 miles east of Wisconsin, Door Peninsula, and Forestville, is where Lake Michigan reaches its deepest point at varying depths. With a mean surface height of 579 feet or 176 meters above sea level, Lake Michigan has a maximum depth of 923 feet or 281 meters.
It has a vast mass of water to bury remnants of shipwrecks, despite not being one of the Earth’s deepest lakes.
Geography and Hydrology
By volume, Lake Michigan is the Great Lakes’ second biggest, while by surface area, it is the third. Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan are the US states closest to the shore. The Ojibwa term “mishigami” means “big water,” which is why the lake’s name is assumed to be derived from it.
The Milwaukee Reef, which runs beneath the lake from Milwaukee to Racine and a point between Grand Haven and Muskegon, divides Lake Michigan into two halves: the northern basin and the southern basin.
The consequence of winds, rivers, and the Coriolis effect is that each basin flows in a clockwise direction. Westerly winds move the surface water eastward, resulting in a milder climate in western Michigan.
Summer temperatures on the Michigan and Wisconsin beaches vary by 2 to 5 degrees Celsius (5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit), with mean differences of 2 to 5 degrees Celsius (5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit). The lake is fed by approximately 100 streams, the majority of which are tiny.
Pere Marquette, Manistee, Muskegon, White, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, and St. Joseph are among the most significant rivers that flow into the lake from the east. Joseph is the subject of this passage. In the northwestern part of the lake, the Menominee and Fox rivers merge to form Green Bay.
The Chicago River used to feed the lake, but in 1900, its flow was reversed, and it now feeds into the Des Plaines River.
Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are physically distinct bodies of water, however they are hydrologically the same body of water known as Michigan-Huron.
The world’s biggest body of freshwater by surface area would be formed if the two lakes were combined. The Mackinac Strait, which is 8 kilometers (5 miles) wide, separates them. The Mackinac Bridge is often regarded as the border between the two lakes, separating them from one another.
Together with Lake Huron, Lake Michigan is part of the Great Lakes Waterway. The lake was originally known as Lake Illinois on maps of the area.
Lake Connections and Shipping
The Great Lakes Waterway and the Saint Lawrence Seaway allowed ocean-going ships to travel between the Great Lakes. The locks on the Great Lakes are limited because container ships that are extremely wide do not fit through them. Additionally, since large portions of the Great Lakes freeze during the winter, most shipping is disrupted.
The Illinois Waterway, which runs via the Illinois River and the Mississippi River, connects the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Instead, take the Illinois River to the Mississippi River through the Ohio Valley and into the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway before arriving at Mobile Bay. Both of these waterways are heavily used for commerce.
All of the Great Lakes are important shipping hubs, as Lake Michigan is. The lakes carried 162 million tons of cargo in 2002 alone. Iron ore, grain, and potash are the three most essential ones. However, the total amount of Great Lakes shipping has been declining in recent years.
The Erie Canal and the Hudson River are used by recreation boats to navigate the Great Lakes. At the eastern end of Lake Erie, in Buffalo, New York, and at the southern end of Lake Ontario, in Oswego, New York, the Erie Canal links Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
Lake Michigan’s water temperatures may reach the 60s in July and August, and if air temperatures are in the 90s for a number of days, they may even reach the 70s.
Lake Michigan’s water flows at a sluggish pace due to an unusual circulatory pattern that resembles suburban cul-de-sac traffic.
Lake Michigan is frozen 90% of the time due to winds and resulting waves, although it has been completely frozen on several occasions. A severe temperature changes along the shore, shoreline erosion, and hazardous navigation may occur as a result of ocean-like swells, particularly during the winter.
The lake has a average depth of 279 feet (85 meters) and a maximum depth of 925 feet (282 meters).
The Depth of Lake Michigan in Compared to Other Lakes
Lake Michigan is the second largest Great Lake, with a depth of 1,333 feet (406 meters) compared to Lake Superior’s 1,333 feet (406 meters), which is around 44% deeper.
Nonetheless, it is the third deepest lake, trailing only Lake Superior and Lake Ontario in terms of average depth.
Lake Michigan is made up of two enormous basins, with the deeper basin accounting for the majority of the lake’s average depth. Chippewa basin, located in the north of the lake, is the deepest. In the southern part of the South Chippewa basin, depth is not as great at around 165 meters, with a much slower increase.
It’s almost like a large bowl. The lake is only 65 feet deep, and you can travel 8 miles from the Chicago shoreline. The Mid-Lake Plateau is the highest point between the two basins, which stretches from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Muskegon, Michigan.
It is around 40 meters deep at its shallowest point. This area would have been an island at the lowest point in the Lake’s history.
Lake Michigan ranks well against other well-known freshwater lakes, such as Loch Ness and Lake Champlain, when it comes to depth.
While a previously unknown crevice at the bottom is 889 feet (271 meters) is the deepest point, Loch Ness, home of the legendary sea monster “Nessie,” has an official depth of 754 feet (229.8 meters). Despite this, Lake Ness has an average depth of 433 feet (132 meters), which is more than 50% deeper than Lake Michigan.
Lake Champlain, on the other hand, is a considerably shallower lake, home to the mythical sea monster “Champ.” With a maximum depth of around 400 feet, it has a typical depth of 64 feet.
During the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago, Lake Michigan, Loch Ness, and Lake Champlain were all formed at about the same time. These three lakes are all freshwater.
A lake monster has been spotted on Loch Ness and Lake Champlain numerous times. Could Lake Michigan contain its own lake monster, with Lake Michigan being fresh water and having more depth than these other lakes at the same time? I’m not sure about this. You are in charge of the decision.
What are some scary facts about Lake Michigan?
Many individuals have recounted terrifying tales about Lake Michigan over the years. Officials and authorities have verified some of them.
Lake Michigan can be extremely dangerous, from being dubbed the “deadliest Great Lake” to becoming the “second Bermuda Triangle.” Swimming in this lake is even dangerous. The following are some of Lake Michigan’s scary facts.
Among the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is regarded as one of the most dangerous. Rip currents, which destroy different buildings, are to blame for this.
Swimming in Lake Michigan has killed a number of people. A bull shark attacked a swimmer named George Lawson in Lake Michigan in 1955. Lake Michigan is home to vegetarian piranhas, and violent tornadoes sometimes form in the lake.
The Bermuda triangle-like geography of Lake Michigan is unique. The Michigan triangle is another name for it. This area has a history of losing many people and ships.
When a steamer collided with a schooner and 450 people died, Lake Michigan had the first major disaster among the Great Lakes.
A life-size figure of crucified Jesus was discovered at the foot of Lake Michigan in 1956, and a perfectly aligned circle made up of stones estimated to be over 10 thousand years old was found at the foot of Lake Michigan in 2007.