Great Lakes Maps

The Great Lakes constitute one of the largest freshwater systems on earth, containing 18% of the world's surface freshwater. Only the polar ice caps and Lake Baikal in Siberia contain more freshwater than the Great Lakes! Spanning more than 1 200 kilometres from west to east, the Lakes provide water for consumption, transportation, industry and recreation and are integral to the ecology, climate culture and economy of North America.

Drainage Basin Maps

Physical Features of the Great Lakes Basin

Physical Features of the Great Lakes Basin
ParameterSuperior (map)MichiganHuron (map)Erie (map)Ontario (map)Basin Totals (map)
a measured at low water datum.
b land drainage area for Lake Huron includes the St. Marys River, Lake Erie includes the St. Clair-Detroit system and Lake Ontario includes the Niagara River.
c including islands.
d these totals are greater than the sum of the shoreline length from the lakes because they include the connecting channels (excluding the St. Lawrence River).
Elevation a (metres)18317617617374 
Length (metres)563494332388311 
Breadth (metres)2571902459285 
Average Depth a (metres)14785591986 
Maximum Depth a (metres)40628222964244 
Volume (cubic kilometres)12,1004,9203,5404841,64022,684
Water Area (square kilometres)82,10057,80059,60025,70018,960244,160
Land Drainage Area b (square kilometres)127,700118,000134,10078,00064,030521,830
Total Area (square kilometres)209,800175,800193,700103,70082,990765,990
Shoreline Length c (kilometres)4,3852,6336,1571,4021,14617,017
Retention Time (years)19199222.66 

Source: The Great Lakes: An Environmental Atlas and Resource Book, Factsheet #1.

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