There are a lot of facts about Lake Superior. Its name origins, ancient geology and ecology can be found on numerous websites. You can learn about its profound history and about the people who have lived along the shores of Lake Superior for literally thousands of years. Stories written by First Nations, European explorers, fur trading, mining and colonization make up the life of this lake. Below we’ve listed some of our five favourite incredible facts about Lake Superior. 

The highest wave recorded with modern records on Lake Superior was a 28.8-foot save at the Granite Island buoy north of Marquette, Michigan. Many storm watchers visit Lake Superior in late fall for the “Gales of November”. Strong winds blow across the Great Lakes during that time of year and stir up intense storms with incredible wave action, wailing winds and rain. There are past recordings of waves as high as 40 feet.

wave action on Lake Superior, Ontario

Did you know that the Empire State Building would sink beneath Lake Superior’s surface? This is one of the wildest facts we’ve ever read, thanks to Pure Michigan! To put this into perspective, the Empire State Building is 1,250 feet tall from the ground to the roof, whereas Lake Superior’s maximum depth is an astounding 1,333 feet! For more fascinating facts, click here.

The ‘Lake Superior Effect’ refers to the lake’s climate. Because of its immense size and depth, Lake Superior is prone to sudden changes in temperature and what is called lake-effect snow in winter. The average water temperature is 40º F, so it rarely freezes over completely. In 2014, Lake Superior almost completely froze over.

The Lake Superior shoreline, if straightened out, could connect Duluth, MN to the Bahama Islands. The lake measures about 350 miles (563 km) in length and 160 miles (257 km) in width. We’d also like to add that it’s the clearest lake as you can see down to depths of at least 27 feet. And there are more than 80 fish species that call the lake home. (we crammed a bunch of extra facts in here)

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum Michigan

Lastly, Lake Superior has over 350 shipwrecks reported. The wreck of the SS Emperor in Lake Superior at Isle Royale is said to be haunted by a crewman who continues to do his duties even in death. One of the most famous shipwrecks is the SS Edmund Fitzgerald as it has been memorialized by Gordon Lightfoot in the song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

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