Twenty-four facts you may not know about the Great Lakes:
1. Lake Huron was the first of the Great Lakes and was the first to be discovered by early French explorers.
2. Lake Erie was the last of the lakes discovered by the French.
3. All four other Great Lakes, plus three more the size of Lake Erie, would fit inside Lake Superior.
4. Lake Erie is the fourth largest of the Great Lakes in area and the shallowest in depth. It is the 11th largest lake on the planet.
5. Long before Europeans set eyes on the Great Lakes, native tribes had discovered and learned of its abundant fish resources. Ancient archaeological finds point to evidence of robust fishing and canoe building.
6. The tribes that fished at the time usually used nets made of linden and nettle. They would suspend this net between two canoes side by side, drag it and catch whole nets full of fish.
7. Due to their oceanic characteristics, such as rolling waves, sustained winds, strong currents and great depths, the Great Lakes could all be considered inland seas.
8. The Great Lakes contain 21% of the world’s fresh water.
9. Lake Michigan is the largest lake in the world located entirely within a single country.
10. The melting of glaciers at the end of the last ice age, 10,000 years ago, created the Great Lakes.
11. The shores of Lake Michigan are home to the most extensive freshwater dune system in the world. The lake has 300,000 acres of dunes along its shore.
12. Waves over 40 feet in height have been recorded on Lake Superior.
From the GoErie.com Vault:The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
13. Michigan’s state stone is called the Petoskey Stone. It is made up of fossilized coral and is the only place in the world where such stones are found.
14. Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run in Toronto at Hanlan’s Point Stadium. The bullet landed in Lake Ontario and was never found.
15. A lake on Saturn’s moon Titan is named after Lake Ontario. It is called Ontario Lacus.
16. Not only is Lake Erie the smallest of the Great Lakes in terms of water volume, but it also has the most industry surrounding it. Twenty metropolitan areas, each with a population of over 75,000, lie along the shoreline of the lake.
17. The largest salt mine in the world is the Goderich mine. Part of it passes under Lake Huron, more than 500 meters underground.
18. Lake Erie has seen more shipwrecks and shipwrecks than any other Great Lake. It has recorded more shipwrecks than the Bermuda Triangle.
19. Singapore, Michigan is a ghost town on the shores of Lake Michigan that was buried under sand in 1871. Due to extremely severe weather conditions and a lack of resources at the time due to the need for rebuilding Chicago after the massive fires in that city, the city was completely lost.
20. Lake Michigan was the site of the first major disaster on record in the Great Lakes, in which a large lake steamer with more than 600 people on board collided with a schooner delivering lumber in Chicago. The result was that 450 people died.
21. The Keystone State was one of the largest and most luxurious wooden steamships in service during the Civil War. In 1861 he disappeared. In 2013 he was found in 175 feet of water just 30 miles from Harrisville, Michigan.
22. Scientists believe that Lake Erie contains 2% of the water in the Great Lakes, yet is home to about half of all fish.
23. Lake Huron has the longest shoreline of all the Great Lakes. That coastline is 3,817 miles when you include its 30,000 islands.
24. Some people in Cleveland claim to have seen strange things on Lake Erie. There were quite a few reports that they saw, at times, the Canadian coastline as if it was just offshore. However, it is over 50 miles away. It was assumed to be a weather phenomenon, much like the desert mirage.
Gene Ware is the author of 10 books. He sits on the board of directors of the Près Isle Light Station and has served as chairman of the boards of the Tom Ridge Center Foundation and the Près Isle Partnership. Email him at [email protected].