Geography

Facts about Lake Huron

20 Lake Huron facts

Second largest of the Great Lakes

It was known as Karegnondi by the local Wyandot tribe before the first European settlers landed on the North American continent. The name Huron is derived from the Wyandot people's distinctive hairstyle and was given by French explorers in the 15th century.
1
It is the second-largest of the Great Lakes.

However, it ranks third among the Great Lakes in terms of volume, being surpassed by Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. It is also the fourth largest lake on Earth, with a surface area of 59,588 km2 (23,007 sq mi).

The lake has a north-south extent of 332 km (206 mi) and an east-west extent of 295 km (295 km).

2
The coastline is 2,980 km (1,850 mi) long.
If all 30 thousand islands are taken into account, the coastline's total length grows to 6170 km (3,833.8 mi).
3
It is not as deep as Lake Superior or Lake Michigan.
In fact, only Lake Eerie is shallower than Lake Huron. The average depth of Lake Huron is 59 m (195 ft), with the deepest point at 229 m (750 ft).
4
It is situated on the same level as Lake Michigan.
This makes both lakes the same body of water in hydrological meaning. Lake Huron is separated from Lake Michigan by narrow waterways called the Straits of Mackinac.
5
Lake Huron formed due to glacier retreat in the last ice age.
Like with other Great Lakes, Lake Huron's formation occurred about 10 thousand years ago. The early Great Lakes developed slowly over thousands of years until about the 10th century BC, when they took on the sizes and shapes we know today.
6
It was the first of the Great Lakes discovered by European explorers.
The first nation to arrive on the lake's shores was the French. French explorers Samuel de Champlain and Étienne Brûlé appeared at Georgian Bay in 1615, naming the place La Mer Douce, which means "the freshwater sea."
7
It is situated between Michigan and Ontario shores.
  • 23,580 km2 (9,103 sq mi) lays in Michigan
  • 36,010 km2 (13,904 sq mi) lays in Ontario
8
There are over 30 thousand islands on lake Huron.
The most prominent one is Manitoulin Island, located in Georgian Bay, the lake's largest bay.
9
It has over 80 tributaries.
Approximately 192 billion liters of water flow from Lake Superior through the St. Marys River daily. Another 130 billion liters of water flow from Lake Michigan through the Straits of Mackinac.
10
Wasaga Beach is the longest freshwater beach on Earth. Located in Collingwood, it is 14 kilometers long.
The other attractive beaches on Lake Huron are:

  • Sauble Beach in Ontario
  • Grand Bend in Ontario
  • Oscoda Beach Park in Michigan
11
Sarnia is the most populated city over the lake.
It is located in southwestern Ontario, Canada. Settled in the mid-1830s, it became a city on May 7, 1914. Today it has over 70 thousand residents.

There are over 100 parks within the city, nice and long beaches, a museum, and a harbor with marinas for recreational sailing.
12
Two of the largest bays of the Great Lakes belong to Lake Huron.
Those are: 
  • Georgian Bay - 5,791 km2 (2,236 sq mi)
  • Saginaw Bay - 2,771 km2 (1,070 sq mi)
13
There is a submerged forest of petrified trees in 12 meters (40 feet) of water in Lake Huron, about three kilometers from Lexington's present shore.
According to carbon-dating analysis, some of the underwater exemplars can be approximately eight thousand years old. Studying those sunken trees may reveal many secrets of North American prehistory.
14
Manitoulin Island is located within the borders of the Canadian province of Ontario.
It is the largest freshwater island in the world, inhabited by over 13 thousand people. Although it is a lake island, it has 108 freshwater lakes, some of which have their islands too.
15
The French barque Le Griffon was the first European ship to sink in the lake due to a raging storm.
It was also the first European vessel to sail the Great Lakes. To date, the wreck of Le Griffon, referred to as the "Holy Grail" of Great Lakes shipwreck hunters, has not been found. A similar shipwreck was discovered by sonar scan near Poverty Island in 2001 but is still awaiting identification. Additional difficulties arise from the fact that the wreck lies under several meters of sediment.
16
A powerful storm on Lake Huron sank ten ships on November 9, 1913.
During the 16 hour abyss, 235 sailors lost their lives.
17
There are over 120 lighthouses on the coast of Lake Huron.
In the past they were used to aid ship navigation, but today they serve as a tourist attraction or private property.
18
Retention time of Lake Huron is 22 years.
It changes water much faster than its northern companion Lake Superior which needs 191 years to flush.
19
It does not freeze over very often.
The last time 95% of the lake's surface was frozen occurred in 2014. Such a lush ice cover on a lake happens on average about once every 15 years.
20
Many native fish species have been extirpated from the lake.
Lake trout, ciscos, and sculpins were the dominant species until the early 20th century, when many invasive fish were introduced into the water. In the 1930s, the invasive sea lamprey, alewife, and rainbow smelt numbers increased significantly, posing a threat to the natural ecosystem. Many cisco species were wiped out by both sea lamprey and overfishing. The only cisco still found at Lake Huron is the bloater.

Invertebrates may also contribute to the damage of the lake's natural system, as species such as zebra and quagga mussels and the spiny water flea have appeared in Lake Huron's waters in recent decades and may have negative impacts on the condition and quantity of plankton.

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