In honor of the Great Lakes Compact ratification on Dec. 8, 2008, here are some Great Lakes facts to consider.
Percentage of the Earth’s fresh water found in the Great Lakes.
The year the first European explorer is believed to have reached the Great Lakes (Huron and Ontario). That is credited to Étienne Brûlé, advance man for French explorer Samuel de Champlain.
The approximate number of plants and animals that inhabit the Great Lakes basin, including more than 170 species of fish.
The square miles of the surface area of Lake Ontario, making it the smallest of the Great Lakes. However, it is much deeper than Lake Erie and holds about four times the water (393 cubic miles to Lake Erie’s 116 cubic miles).
The square miles of the surface area of Lake Erie, making it the fourth largest of the Great Lakes.
The square miles of the surface area of Lake Michigan, making it the third largest of the Great Lakes. It is the only Great Lake located entirely in the United States.
The square miles of the surface area of Lake Huron, making it the second largest of the Great Lakes. Taking into account all of its islands, it also has the longest shoreline at 3,827 miles.
The approximate number of islands that dot the Great Lakes. The largest is Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, which at 1,068 square miles makes it the largest island in any inland body of water on the planet.
The square miles of the surface area of Lake Superior, making it the largest of the Great Lakes. It holds 2,903 cubic miles of water.
The area of all the Great Lakes in square miles.
The number of people in the United States and Canada who live in the Great Lakes basin.
The number of gallons of water in the Great Lakes (that’s 15 zeros).