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Physical Characteristics of the Great Lakes


Superior   Michigan   Huron Erie Ontario Totals
Elevationa (feet) 600 577 577 569 243
(metres) 183 176 176 173 74
Length (miles) 350 307 206 241 193
(kilometres) 563 494 332 388 311
Breadth (miles) 160 118 183 57 53
(kilometres) 257 190 245 92 85
Average Deptha (feet) 483 279 195 62 283
(metres) 147 85 59 19 86
Maximum Deptha (feet) 1,332 925 750 210 802
(metres) 406 282 229 64 244
Volumea (cu. miles) 2,900 1,180 850 116 393 5,439
(km3) 12,100 4,920 3,540 484 1,640 22,684
Water Area (sq. mi.) 31,700 22,300 23,000 9,910 7,340 94,250
(km2) 82,100 57,800 59,600 25,700 18,960 244,160
Land Drainage Areab (sq. mi.) 49,300 45,600 51,700 30,140 24,720 201,460
(km2) 127,700 118,000 134,100 78,000 64,030 521,830
Total Area (sq. mi.) 81,000 67,900 74,700 40,050 32,060 295,710
(km2) 209,800 175,800 193,700 103,700 82,990 765,990
Shoreline Lengthc (miles) 2,726 1,638 3,827 871 712 10,210d
(kilometres) 4,385 2,633 6,157 1,402 1,146 17,017d
Retention Time (years) 191 99 22 2.6 6
Outlet St. Marys River Straits of Mackinac St. Clair River Niagara River/ Welland Canal St. Lawrence River

Notes:

  • a Measured at Low Water Datum.
  • b Land Drainage Area for Lake Huron includes St. Marys River.
    Lake Erie includes the St. Clair-Detroit system.
    Lake Ontario includes the Niagara River.
  • c Including islands.
  • d These totals are greater than the sum of the shoreline length for the lakes because they include the connecting channels (excluding the St. Lawrence River).

Sources:

  • The Great Lakes: An Environmental Atlas and Resource Book,
    Government of Canada Toronto, Ontario and United States Environmental Protection Agency, Chicago, Illinois
    Third Edition 1995


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