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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lake Huron
Map of Lake Huron and the other Great Lakes
Location North America
Group Great Lakes
Coordinates 44°48′N 82°24′W / 44.8°N 82.4°W / 44.8; -82.4Coordinates: 44°48′N 82°24′W / 44.8°N 82.4°W / 44.8; -82.4
Lake type Glacial
Primary inflows Straits of Mackinac, St. Marys River
Primary outflows St. Clair River
Catchment area 74,700 sq mi (193,000 km2)
Basin countries Canada, United States
Max. length 206 mi (332 km)
Max. width 152 mi (245 km)
Surface area 23,010 sq mi (59,600 km2)[1]
Average depth 195 ft (59 m)
Max. depth 750 ft (230 m)[1]
Water volume 849 cu mi (3,540 km3)
Residence time 22 years
Shore length1 3,825 mi (6,156 km)
Surface elevation 577 ft (176 m)[1]
Islands Manitoulin
Sections/sub-basins Georgian Bay, North Channel
Settlements Bay City, Alpena, Cheboygan, St. Ignace, Port Huron in Michigan; Goderich, Sarnia in Ontario
References [1]
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Lake Huron (French: Lac Huron) is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded on the east by Ontario, Canada and on the west by Michigan, USA. The name of the lake is derived from early French explorers who named it based on the Huron people inhabiting the region.



Lake Huron is the second largest of the Great Lakes, with a surface area of 59,596 km2 (23,010 sq mi) making it the third largest fresh water lake on earth (fourth largest lake if the saline Caspian Sea is included). It contains a volume of 3,540 km3 (850 cubic miles), and a shoreline length of 3,827 mi (6,157 km).

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

Important cities on Lake Huron include: Goderich, Sarnia, Bay City, Alpena, Rogers City, Cheboygan, St. Ignace, and Port Huron.[citation needed]

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.[2]


Water Levels

Historic High Water The lake fluctuates from month to month with the highest lake levels in October and November. The normal highwater mark is 2.00 feet (0.61 m) above datum (577.5 ft or 176.0 meters). In the summer of 1986, Lakes Michigan and Huron reached their highest level at 5.92 feet (1.80 m) above datum.[3] The high water records began in February 1986 and lasted through the year, ending with January 1987. Water levels ranged from 3.67 feet (1.12 m) to 5.92 feet (1.80 m) above Chart Datum.[3]

Historic Low Water Lake levels tend to be the lowest in winter. The normal lowwater mark is 1.00 foot (0.30 m) below datum (577.5 ft or 176.0 meters). In the winter of 1964, Lakes Michigan and Huron reached their lowest level at 1.38 feet (0.42 m) below datum.[3] As with the highwater records, monthly low water records were set each month from February 1964 through January 1965. During this twelve month period water levels ranged from 1.38 feet (0.42 m) to 0.71 feet (0.22 m) below Chart Datum.[3]

Great Lakes Circle Tour

The Great Lakes Circle Tour is a designated scenic road system connecting all of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.[4]


Lake Huron is separated from Lake Michigan, which lies at the same level, by the narrow Straits of Mackinac, making them geologically and hydrologically the same body of water (sometimes called Lake Michigan-Huron). Lake Superior is slightly higher than both. It drains into the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie which then flows southward into Lake Huron. The water then flows south to the St. Clair River, at Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario.

The Great Lakes Waterway continues thence to Lake St. Clair; the Detroit River and Detroit, Michigan; into Lake Erie and thence – via Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River – to the Atlantic Ocean.

Like the other Great Lakes, it was formed by melting ice as the continental glaciers retreated toward the end of the last ice age. Before this, Lake Huron was a low-lying depression through which flowed the now-buried Laurentian and Huronian Rivers; the lake bed was criss-crossed by a large network of tributaries to these ancient waterways, with many of the old channels still evident on bathymetric maps.


The French, the first European visitors to the region, often referred to Lake Huron as La Mer Douce, "the fresh-water sea". In 1656, a map by French cartographer Nicolas Sanson, refers to the lake as Karegnondi, a Wendat word which has been variously translated as "Freshwater Sea", "Lake of the Hurons", or simply "lake".[5]

The lake was generally labeled "Lac des Hurons" (Lake of the Huron) on most early European maps.

Storm of 1913

Ipperwash Beach, Lake Huron

On November 9, 1913, a great storm in Lake Huron sank ten ships and more than twenty were driven ashore. The storm, which raged for 16 hours, killed 235 seamen.[6]

The Matoa had passed between Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario just after midnight. On the 9th, just after six in the morning, the Senator pushed upstream. Less than an hour later, the Manola passed through. Captain Frederick W. Light of the Manola reported that both the Canadian and the American weather stations had storm flag signals flying from their weather towers.[7] Following behind at 7:00 a.m. that Sunday, the Regina steamed out of Sarnia into the northwest gale. The warnings now had been up for four hours.[8] The Manola passed the Regina off Port Sanilac, 22 miles up the lake. Captain Light determined that if it continued to deteriorate, he would seek shelter at Harbor Beach, Michigan, another 30 miles up the lake. There, he could seek shelter behind the breakwater. Before reaching Harbor Beach, the winds turned to the northeast and the lake began to rise. It would be noon before he reached Harbor Beach and ran for shelter. The waves were so violent that the Manola touched bottom entering the harbor. With help from a tug, the Manola tied up to the break wall with eight lines. It was about 3:00 p.m. when the Manola was secured and the crew prepared to drop anchor. As they worked, the cables began to snap from wind pressure against the hull. To keep from being pushed aground, they kept their bow into the wind with the engines running half to full in turns, yet the ship still drifted 800 feet before its movement was arrested.[9] Waves breaking over the ship damaged several windows and the crew reported seeing portions of the concrete break wall peeling off as the waves struck it.[10]

Meanwhile, fifty miles further up the lake, the Matoa, and Captain Hugh McLeod had to ride out the storm without a safe harbor[11] The Matoa would be found stranded on the Port Austin reef when the winds subsided.[12] It was noon on Monday before the winds let up and not until 11:00 p.m. that night before Capt. Light determined it to be safe to continue his journey.[13]


See also: Shipwrecks in the Great Lakes

More than a thousand wrecks have been recorded in Lake Huron. These purportedly include the first European vessel to sail the Great Lakes, The Griffon built in 1679 on the eastern shore of Lake Erie, near Buffalo, New York, Sieur de la Salle navigated across Lake Erie, up the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River out into Lake Huron. Passing the Straits of Mackinac, La Salle and the Griffon made land fall on Washington Island, off the tip of the Door Peninsula on the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan. Here, La Salle filled the Griffon with pelts and in late November 1679 sent the Griffon back to the site of modern day Buffalo, never to be seen again.

Two wrecks have been identified as the Griffon, although neither has gained final verification as the actual wreck. Blown by a fierce storm after leaving, the Griffon ran aground before the storm. The people of Manitoulin Island say that the wreck in Mississagi Straits at the western tip of the island is that of the Griffon. Meanwhile, others near Tobermory say that the wreck on Russell Island, 150 miles further east in Georgian Bay is that of the Griffin.[14]

Saginaw Bay

185 of 1000+ wrecks[15] are within the waters of Saginaw Bay.

Matoa, A propeller freighter, 2,311 gross tons, built 1890, Cleveland, wrecked, 1913, Port Austin Reef[16]

Georgian Bay, North Channel

Georgian Bay, which is the largest bay on Lake Huron, contains the most wrecks in Lake Huron, of the 1000 sunk vessels, 212 lie here.[17]

Manola, a propeller freighter of 2,325 gross tons. Built in 1890, by the Globe Shipping Company of Cleveland, Ohio. Operated by the Minnesota Steamship Company (Cleveland) from 1890-1901, by the Pittsburgh Steamship Company from 1901-1918. On January 25, 1918, the Manola was sold to the U.S. Shipping Board. It was sold again in 1920 to the Canada Steamship Lines, Ltd and renamed the Mapledawn. It became stranded on November 20, 1924 on Christian Island[18] in Georgian Bay. It was headed for Port McNichol, Ontario. It was declared a total loss after two weeks. Salvagers were able to recover c.75,000 bushels of barley for delivery to Midland, Ontario.[19]


Lake Huron has a lake retention time of 22 years.

Like all of the Great Lakes, the ecology of Lake Huron has undergone drastic changes in the last century. The lake originally supported a native deepwater fish community dominated by lake trout, which fed on a number of deepwater ciscos as well as sculpins and other native fishes. Several invasive species, including sea lamprey, alewife and rainbow smelt, became abundant in the lake by the 1930s. The major native top predator, lake trout, were virtually extirpated from the lake by 1950 due to a combination of overfishing and the effects of sea lamprey. Several species of deepwater ciscos were also extirpated from the lake by the 1960s; the only remaining native deepwater cisco is the bloater. Nonnative Pacific salmon have been stocked in the lake since the 1960s, and lake trout have also been stocked in an attempt to rehabilitate the species, although little natural reproduction of stocked trout has been observed.

Lake Huron has suffered recently due the introduction of a variety of new invasive species, including zebra and quagga mussels, the spiny water flea, and round gobies. The deepwater demersal fish community of the lake was in a state of collapse by 2006[20], and a number of drastic changes have been observed in the zooplankton community of the lake[21]. Chinook salmon catches have also been greatly reduced in recent years, and lake whitefish have become less abundant and are in poor condition. These recent changes may be attributable to the new exotic species.

Lake Huron viewed from Arch Rock at Mackinac Island

See also

Great Lakes in general


  1. ^ a b c d Wright, John W. (ed.); Editors and reporters of The New York Times (2006). The New York Times Almanac (2007 ed.). New York, New York: Penguin Books. pp. 64. ISBN 0-14-303820-6. 
  2. ^ Canadian Broadcasting Corporation website Seven Wonders of Canada-Manitoulin Island, Ontario Retrieved on 10/05/09.
  3. ^ a b c d Monthly bulletin of Lake Levels for The Great Lakes; September 2009; US Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District
  4. ^ Great Lakes Circle Tour.
  5. ^ "Huron-Wendat, by Georges E. Sioui, Jane Brierley". UBC Press, 2000;ISBN 0774807156. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  6. ^ True Tales of the Great Lakes, by Dwight Boyer; p212
  7. ^ True Tales of the Great Lakes, by Dwight Boyer; p266
  8. ^ True Tales of the Great Lakes, by Dwight Boyer; p268
  9. ^ Freshwater Fury by Frank Barcus, pg 72
  10. ^ True Tales of the Great Lakes, by Dwight Boyer, pg 269
  11. ^ True Tales of the Great Lakes, by Dwight Boyer, pg 272,3
  12. ^ Shipwrecks of Lake Huron . . . The Great Sweetwater Sea, Jack Parker, Avery Color Studios, Au Train, Michigan, 1986, pg 56
  13. ^ Freshwater Fury by Frank Barcus, pg 73
  14. ^ Shipwrecks of Lake Huron . . . The Great Sweetwater Sea, Jack Parker, Avery Color Studios, Au Train, Michigan, 1986, pg 25-6
  15. ^ Shipwrecks of Lake Huron . . . The Great Sweetwater Sea, Jack Parker, Avery Color Studios, Au Train, Michigan, 1986, pg 50-61
  16. ^ Shipwrecks of Lake Huron . . . The Great Sweetwater Sea, Jack Parker, Avery Color Studios, Au Train, Michigan, 1986, pg 56
  17. ^ Shipwrecks of Lake Huron . . . The Great Sweetwater Sea, Jack Parker, Avery Color Studios, Au Train, Michigan, 1986, pg 65-77
  18. ^ Shipwrecks of Lake Huron . . . The Great Sweetwater Sea, Jack Parker, Avery Color Studios, Au Train, Michigan, 1986, pg 71
  19. ^ Great Lakes Vessels Index; Historical Collections of the Great Lakes; Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio
  20. ^ Riley, S. C. et al. 2008. "Deepwater demersal fish community collapse in Lake Huron". Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 137: 1879-1880.
  21. ^ Barbiero, R. P. et al. 2009. "Recent shifts in the crustacean zooplankton community of Lake Huron". Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 66: 816-828.

Further reading

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HURON, the second largest of the Great Lakes of North America, including Georgian Bay and the channel north of Manitoulin Island, which are always associated with it. It lies between the parallels of 43° and 46° 20' N. and between the meridians of 80° and 84° W., and is bounded W. by the state of Michigan, and N. and E. by the province of Ontario, Georgian Bay and North Channel being wholly within Canadian territory. The main portion of the lake is 235 m. long from the Strait of Mackinac to St Clair river, and 98 m. wide on the 45th parallel of latitude. Georgian Bay is 125 m. long, with a greatest width of 60 m., while North Channel is 120 m. long, with an extreme width of 16 m., the whole lake having an area of 23,200 sq. m. The surface is 581 ft. above the sea. The main lake reaches a depth of 802 ft.; Georgian bay shows depths, especially near its west shore, of over 300 ft.; North Channel has depths of 180 ft. Lake Huron is 20 ft. lower than Lake Superior, whose waters it receives at its northern extremity through St. Mary river, is on the same level as Lake Michigan, which connects with its north-west extremity through the Strait of Mackinac, and is nearly 9 ft. higher than Lake Erie, into which it discharges at its south extremity through St Clair river.

On the mainland, the north and east shores are of gneisses and granites of archaean age, with a broken and hilly surface rising in places to 600 ft. above the lake and giving a profusion of islands following the whole shore line from the river St Mary to Waubaushene at the extreme east end of Georgian bay. Manitoulin Island and the Saugeen Peninsula are comparatively flat and underlaid by a level bed of Trenton limestone. The southern shores, skirting the peninsula of Michigan, are flat. The rock formations are of sand stone and limestone, while the forests are either a tangled growth of pine and spruce or a scattered growth of small trees on a sandy soil. This shore is indented by Thunder bay, 78 sq. m. in area, and Saginaw bay, 50 m. deep and 26 m. wide across its mouth.

The chief tributaries of the lake on the U.S. side are Thunder bay river, Au Sable river and Saginaw river. On the Canadian side are Serpent river, Spanish river, French river, draining Lake Nipissing, Muskoka river, Severn river, draining lake Simcoe, and Nottawasaga river, all emptying into Georgian bay and North Channel, and Saugeen and Maitland rivers, flowing into the main lake. These have been or are largely used in connexion with pine lumbering operations. They, with smaller streams, drain a basin of 75,300 sq. m.

There is a slight current in Lake Huron skirting the west shore from inlet to outlet. At the south end it turns and passes up the east coast. There is also a return current south of Manitoulin Island and a current, sometimes attaining a strength of half a knot, passes into Georgian bay through the main entrance. Ice and navigation conditions and yearly levels are similar to those on the other Great Lakes (q.v.).

Practically all the United States traffic is confined to vessels passing through the main lake between Lakes Superior and Michigan and Lake Erie, but on the Canadian side are several railway termini which receive grain mostly from Lake Superior, and deliver mixed freight to ports on that lake. The chief of these are Parry Sound, Midland, Victoria Harbour, Collingwood, Owen Sound, Southampton, Kincardine, Goderich and Sarnia, at the outlet of the lake. The construction of a ship canal to connect Georgian bay with Montreal by way of French river, Lake Nipissing and Ottawa river began in 1910. A river and lake route with connecting canals, in all about 440 m. long, will be opened for vessels of 20 ft. draught at a cost estimated at £20,Ooo,000 saving some 340 miles in the distance from Lake Superior or Lake Michigan to the sea.

There is a large fishing industry in Lake Huron, the Canadian catch being valued at over a quarter million dollars per annum. Salmon trout (Salvelinus namaycush, Walb.) and whitefish (Coregonus clupeiformis, Mitchill) are the most numerous and valuable. Amongst the islands on the east shore of Georgian bay, which are greatly frequented as a summer resort, black bass (micropterus) and maskinonge (Esox nobilior, Le Sueur) are a great attraction to anglers.

See Georgian Bay and North Channel Pilot, Department of Marine and Fisheries (Ottawa, 1903); Sailing Directions for Lake Huron, Canadian Shore, Department of Marine and Fisheries (Ottawa, 1905); Bulletin No. 17, Survey of Northern and North-Western Lakes, United States, War Department (Washington, 1907); U.S. Hydrographic Office Publication, No. 108 C. Sailing Directions for Lake Huron, &c. U.S. Navy Department (Washington, 1901).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun

Lake Huron


Lake Huron

  1. One of the five Great Lakes of North America.


Simple English

File:Great Lakes Lake
Lake Huron shaded in darker blue

Lake Huron is one of North America's five Great Lakes. It is the third one up from the mouth. Like Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and Lake Superior, it is also part of the boundary between the USA and Canada.

Lake Huron is more than 200 miles (325 km) long and is as much as 750 feet (230 m) deep. Many boats and ships go back and forth on Lake Huron, carrying useful things such as iron ore.

Lake Huron borders the Canadian province of Ontario and the American state of Michigan. There are no large cities on Lake Huron, but there are some small cities such as Sarnia, Ontario and Bay City, Michigan.

The water that flows out of Lake Huron goes through a river that flows past Detroit, Michigan. The water then flows into Lake Erie on its way to the ocean.

On 1996 on hurricane-like storm appeared on Lake Huron, while the National Hurricane Center was not sure to call it a hurricane or not. Because the storm formed over Lake Huron and that it did not get a name from the NHC, many people nicknamed the storm, "Hurricane Huron".


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