Lake Huron
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October 23, 2014
Facts & Figures

The second-largest Great Lake, Lake Huron has a surface area of 23,000 square miles -- slightly smaller than West Virginia -- making it the fifth-largest freshwater lake in the world. Its name comes from early French explorers, who dubbed it "Lac des Hurons" (Lake of the Huron Indians). Bordered by the province of Ontario and the state of Michigan, Lake Huron measures about 206 miles long and 183 miles wide and has nearly 3,200 miles of shoreline.

At 579 feet above sea level, it averages 195 feet deep with a maximum depth of 750 feet and has a flushing time of about 22 years. About two-thirds of the lake's 51,700-square-mile watershed is still covered by forests, and the lake contains more than 30,000 islands.

Lake Huron mainly functions as a conveyer within the Great Lakes system, carrying both water and ships from the other two upper lakes to the urban and industrial centers along the lower two lakes. The region is a major U.S. forest industry area, and some of the world's largest nickel reserves are located in Ontario just north of the lake. - University of Wisconsin

The surface of Lake Huron is 577 feet (176 m) above sea level. The lake's average depth is 195 feet (59 m), while the maximum depth is 750 feet (229 m). It has a length of 206 miles (332 km) and a breadth of 183 miles (245 km) at its widest point.

Important cities on Lake Huron include: Bay City, Alpena, Rogers City, Cheboygan, St. Ignace, and Port Huron, Michigan; and Goderich, and Sarnia, Ontario Canada.

A notable feature of the lake is Manitoulin Island, which separates the North Channel and Georgian Bay from Lake Huron's main body of water. It is the world's largest freshwater island. - Wikipedia

Lake Huron is the third largest of the lakes by volume, with 850 cubic miles of water. Lake Huron is hydrologically inseparable from Lake Michigan, joined by the wide Straits of Mackinac. The Huron lakeshore extends 3,827 miles, and is characterized by shallow, sandy beaches and the rocky shores of Georgian Bay. The lake measures 206 miles across and 183 miles north to south, with an average depth of 195 feet (approximately 750 feet, maximum). Lake Huron's drainage area, which covers parts of Michigan and Ontario, is relatively large compared to the other Great Lakes. It's more than twice the size of Huron's approximately 23,000 square miles of surface water. The Saginaw River basin is intensively farmed and contains the Flint and Saginaw-Bay City metropolitan areas. Great Lakes Information Network

Lake Huron, which includes Georgian Bay, is the third largest of the lakes by volume. Many Canadians and Americans own cottages on the shallow, sandy beaches of Huron and along the rocky shores of Georgian Bay. The Saginaw River basin is intensively farmed and contains the Flint and Saginaw-Bay City metropolitan areas. Saginaw Bay, like Green Bay, contains a very productive fishery EPA

Air masses from the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic oceans and the Gulf of Mexico converge on the lake, which therefore experiences 4 distinct seasonal patterns and extremes of weather conditions. Its basin is composed of Precambrian SHIELD and Phanerozoic rocks and it was formed during the most recent ice age, with its present form developing only 2000-3000 years ago. The Canadian side of the basin is primarily covered with mixed forest consisting of pine, hemlock, birch, maple, oak, beech, walnut and hickory.

The northern basin is an isolated, underdeveloped hinterland, with a few settlements engaged in the exploitation of forest and mineral resources. Southern settlement is founded on lumbering and agriculture. Important industries include mining, pulp and paper, food processing, chemical production, transport equipment and metal fabricating. SUDBURY, the centre of the mining and smelting industry, is the only major urban centre in the area. One of the world's largest nuclear power plants is located at Douglas Point on the BRUCE PENINSULA. The lake supports commercial fishing (whitefish, perch, walleye, chub, carp) and sportfishing (bass, perch, walleye, pike, rainbow trout). The Canadian side of Lake Huron is renowned for the beauty of its scenery. The North Channel and Georgian Bay shorelines provided subject matter for several of the GROUP OF SEVEN painters. Excellent beaches extend from the Bruce Peninsula to SARNIA. The basin offers wide, unpolluted waters for swimming, boating, cottaging and camping. - Canadian Encyclopedia

Georgian Bay is not a great lake, it was decided in the 1800s that it should be part of Lake Huron, it is often referred to as the sixth Great Lake. It even acts like a Great Lake, creating its own weather, waves, and currents. Georgian Bay is separated from the rest of Lake Huron by the Bruce Peninsula to the west and Manitoulin Island to the north. Rising out from the depth of Georgian Bay is a stretch of the Niagara Escarpment. The Escarpment is a World Unesco Biosphere - it is that globally significant! The Bruce Trail winds it's way along the escarpment giving hikers some fantastic vistas over-looking the majestic bay. - Bruce Peninsula Tourism Guide

Learn more...

Directory of Great Lakes agencies and organizations

SeaGrant - University of Wisconsin

Great Lakes Information Network

Georgian Bay - Wikipedia

Manitoulin Island - Wikipedia

Lake Huron Webcam - Kincardine Yacht Club

Georgian Baykeeper

Lake Huron Lighthouses

Lake Huron Fish

Canadian Remedial Action Plan
Environment Canada

Bathymetry of Lake Huron
National Geophysics Data Center

Areas of Concern-
Environment Canada

St. Marys River

St. Clair River

In the News...

Invasive shrimp found in Lake Huron - 7/12/08, PA


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