What Are the Five Great Lakes?


Quick Answer

The five Great Lakes are Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Superior and Erie. They're found on the border between Canada and the United States, and four of them are shared and controlled by the two countries as per the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909. Only Lake Michigan is entirely in the United States. They comprise the largest group of freshwater lakes on earth.

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Full Answer

Lake Superior is the largest of the lakes, with an average depth of 483 feet, a maximum depth of 1,332 feet, and a water area of 31,700 square miles. Next is Lake Michigan, with an average depth of 279 feet, a maximum depth of 925 feet and a water area of 22,300 square miles. They're followed by Huron, Ontario and Erie. Though Ontario is the smallest lake, with a water area of 7,340 square miles, Erie is the shallowest; its average depth is 62 feet, and its maximum depth is 210 feet. In the recent past Erie was notorious for its pollution problems caused largely by the pesticides and fertilizers that were leached from the farms around it. Because it's so shallow, it can freeze in the winter but warms up quickly in the spring.

Among the biggest lake ports are Chicago, Milwaukee, Buffalo, Cleveland, Duluth, Toledo and Ashtabula.

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