Great Lakes

Satellite image of the Great Lakes, April 24, 2000
Terra MODIS image of the Great Lakes, January 27, 2005, showing ice beginning to build up around the shores of each of the lakes, with snow on the ground; Green Bay, the North Channel, Saginaw Bay, and Lake St. Clair show complete ice coverage.
Location in North America
A map of the Great Lakes Basin showing the five sub-basins. Left to right they are: Superior (magenta); Michigan (cyan); Huron (green); Erie (yellow); Ontario (orange-red).
Lake Michigan–Huron with north oriented to the right; taken on April 14, 2022 during Expedition 67 of the International Space Station. Green Bay is at the upper left and Saginaw Bay is on the right.
South Bass Island in Lake Erie
Toronto on Lake Ontario is in the eastern section of the Great Lakes Megalopolis
Water levels of Lakes Michigan and Huron in the United States, 1918 to 2019.
The Great Lakes, as photographed from the International Space Station
A diagram of the formation of the Great Lakes
Map of Glacial Lake Algonquin and its Correlatives (USGS 1915)
The location of common lake effect bands on the Great Lakes
Lake sturgeon, the largest native fish in the Great Lakes and the subject of extensive commercial fishing in the 19th and 20th centuries is listed as a threatened species
Cliffs at Palisade Head on Lake Superior in Minnesota near Silver Bay.
A zebra mussel–encrusted vector-averaging current meter from Lake Michigan.
Diatoms of different sizes seen through the microscope. These minuscule phytoplankton are encased within a silicate cell wall.
A woodcut of Le Griffon
The passenger ship (foreground) leaving Chicago, c. 1909
Photograph of Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron plus the Finger Lakes of upstate New York, June 14, 2012, taken aboard the International Space Station, with lake names added
Escanaba's Ludington Park in Michigan
Various national, state, provincial, and municipal jurisdictions govern the Great Lakes
Satellite image of the Great Lakes taken by the Terra satellite on June 16, 2021

The Great Lakes, also called the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurentian Great Lakes, are a series of large interconnected freshwater lakes with certain sea-like characteristics in the mid-east region of North America that connect to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence River.

- Great Lakes
Satellite image of the Great Lakes, April 24, 2000

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A map of the Great Lakes Basin showing the five sub-basins within. Left to right they are: Superior (magenta); Michigan (cyan); Huron (pale green); Erie (yellow); Ontario (light coral).

Great Lakes Basin

A map of the Great Lakes Basin showing the five sub-basins within. Left to right they are: Superior (magenta); Michigan (cyan); Huron (pale green); Erie (yellow); Ontario (light coral).

The Great Lakes Basin consists of the Great Lakes and the surrounding lands of the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in the United States, and the province of Ontario in Canada, whose direct surface runoff and watersheds form a large drainage basin that feeds into the lakes.

Satellite photo of Baikal, 2001

Lake Baikal

Rift lake in Russia.

Rift lake in Russia.

Satellite photo of Baikal, 2001
The Yenisey basin, which includes Lake Baikal
A digital elevation model of Lake Baikal region
Lake Baikal's water is especially clear
The Baikal seal is endemic to Lake Baikal.
Mongolian gulls on Baikal
Two species of grayling (Thymallus baikalensis and T. brevipinnis) are found only in Baikal and rivers that drain into the lake.
The omul (Coregonus migratorius) is endemic to Lake Baikal, and is a source of income to locals.
A "giant" Brachyuropus reicherti (Acanthogammaridae) amphipod caught during ice fishing in the lake. Red-orange is its natural, living coloration
Museum specimen of the branching sponge Lubomirskia baicalensis (living are brighter green)
Ice cover survey on the lake
Baikal fishermen fish for 15 commercially used species. The omul, found only in Baikal, accounts for most of the catch.
Cracks in Baikal ice
Great Baikal Trail goes from Litvyanka to Bolshoe Goloustnoye along Lake Baikal coast
Baykalsk Pulp and Paper Mill in 2008, 5 years before its closure
The lake in the winter. The ice is thick enough to support pedestrians and snowmobiles.
An 1883 British map using the More Baikal (Baikal Sea) designation, rather than the conventional Ozero Baikal (Lake Baikal)
Frozen lake Baikal near Olkhon Island
Cliffs on Olkhon Island
A sandy beach in the Kabansky District
Mountains on the Svyatoy Nos Peninsula, Zabaykalsky National Park
The river Turka at its mouth before joining Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal as seen from the OrbView-2 satellite
Spring ice melt underway on Lake Baikal, on 4 May: Notice the ice-covered north, while much of the south is already ice-free.
Circle of thin ice, diameter of {{convert|4.4|km|1|abbr=on}} at the lake's southern tip, probably caused by convection
Delta of the Selenga River, Baikal's main tributary
Buryat shaman on Olkhon Island
Russian map circa 1700, Baikal (not to scale) is at top
Steam locomotive on the Circum-Baikal Railroad
{{ill|Angara (icebreaker)|lt=Angara|ru|Ангара (ледокол)}} was launched in 1900 and is one of the oldest surviving icebreakers

With 23615.39 km3 of water, Lake Baikal is the world's largest freshwater lake by volume, containing 22–23% of the world's fresh surface water, more than all of the North American Great Lakes combined.

Great Lakes region

Bi-national Canadian–American region that includes portions of the eight U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as well as the Canadian province of Ontario.

Bi-national Canadian–American region that includes portions of the eight U.S. states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as well as the Canadian province of Ontario.

Niagara Escarpment (in red)
Cleveland and Lake Erie in winter
An upbound lake freighter passing the Detroit riverfront including the Renaissance Center
Buffalo near the Niagara River
Map of the Great Lakes Basin.
A portion of eastern North America in 1774 after the Quebec Act; Quebec extends all the way to the Mississippi River.
The modern Erie Canal has 34 locks, which are painted with the blue and gold colors of the New York State Canal System
Gateway Harbor in North Tonawanda, about 1000 feet from the present day western terminus of the Erie Canal where it connects to the Niagara River
Ford's River Rouge assembly plant 1941
The Chicago Board of Trade Building a National Historic Landmark
Amtrak Wolverine crossing St. Joseph River

The region centers on the Great Lakes and forms a distinctive historical, economic, and cultural identity.

Chicago River

System of rivers and canals with a combined length of 156 mi that runs through the city of Chicago, including its center .

System of rivers and canals with a combined length of 156 mi that runs through the city of Chicago, including its center .

Aerial view of the North Branch of the Chicago River, from the south, with Goose Island, near center
The Chicago 'L' Ravenswood train (Brown Line) crossing the north branch of the Chicago River
View west along the main stem of the Chicago River from the Outer Drive Bridge, 2009
The main stem of the river, Wrigley Building, and Tribune Tower at night.
Kayakers take a break at Wolf Point with 333 West Wacker, Lake Street Bridge and the south skyline in the background
A view of the Chicago River from the South Branch, looking toward the main stem (right) and the North Branch (upper left) at Wolf Point
South Branch at Ping Tom Memorial Park
View from the U.S. Turning Basin towards the Chicago Loop
Taylor street bridge Circa 1919
Passengers being rescued from the hull of the Eastland by the tugboat Kenosha in the Chicago River
State Street Bridge raised to allow boats to pass
The Link Bridge of Lake Shore Drive
The Chicago River dyed green for Saint Patrick’s Day
Near the mouth of the Chicago River 1831
Near the mouth of the Chicago River 1838
Near the mouth of the Chicago River 1893
Near the mouth of the Chicago River c. late 1800s
Mouth of the river in the early 20th century
The river dyed green for Saint Patrick's Day in 2015
The river dyed blue during the Chicago Cubs' 2016 World Series celebration

Though not especially long, the river is notable because it is one of the reasons for Chicago's geographic importance: the related Chicago Portage is a link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basin, and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico.

Sentinel-2 satellite photo, showing Lake St. Clair (center), as well as St. Clair River connecting it with Lake Huron and the Detroit River connecting it to Lake Erie

Lake St. Clair

Freshwater lake that lies between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Michigan.

Freshwater lake that lies between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Michigan.

Sentinel-2 satellite photo, showing Lake St. Clair (center), as well as St. Clair River connecting it with Lake Huron and the Detroit River connecting it to Lake Erie
Lac Sainte Claire historical marker, Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
Grosse Pointe Yacht Club
Sunset on Lake St. Clair
Beach on Lake St. Clair near St. Clair Shores
Welcoming boaters along Black Creek
1702 map of Lake St. Clair
Aerial view of Anchor Bay at Lake St. Clair
Lake Erie and Lake Saint Clair bathymetric shaded relief map
Frozen Lake St Clair
Shoreline muck in Lake St. Clair

It is part of the Great Lakes system, and along with the St. Clair River and Detroit River, Lake St. Clair connects Lake Huron (to the north) with Lake Erie (to the south).


One of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada.

One of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada.

Typical landscape of the Canadian Shield at Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park, located in Central Ontario
Köppen climate types of Ontario
Cold northwesterly wind over the Great Lakes creating lake-effect snow. Lake-effect snow most frequently occurs in the snowbelt regions of the province.
A 1755 map of the Pays d'en Haut region of New France, an area that included most of Ontario
A monument in Hamilton commemorating the United Empire Loyalists, a group of settlers who fled the United States during or after the American Revolution
Depiction of the Battle of Queenston Heights, during the War of 1812. Upper Canada was an active theatre of operation during the conflict.
A map highlighting the Canadas, with Upper Canada in orange, and Lower Canada in green. In 1841, the two colonies were united to form the Province of Canada.
Oliver Mowat, Premier of Ontario from 1872 to 1896
Law enforcement confiscate stores of alcohol in Elk Lake in an effort to enforce prohibition. The prohibition measures were introduced in 1916 and were not repealed until 1927.
A monument commemorating the immigrant family in Toronto. The province saw a large number of migrants settle in Ontario in the decades following World War II.
Evolution of the borders of Ontario since Canadian Confederation in 1867
Population density of Ontario
English and French displayed on a gantry sign. Communities with sizeable Francophone populations are able to receive provincial services in French.
Container ship at Algoma Steel. The Great Lakes provide ocean access for industries in the province's interior.
A worker at the Oakville Assembly installs a battery in an automobile. The automotive industry is a contributor to the economy of Ontario.
Toronto's Financial District serves as the centre for Canada's financial services.
Aerial view of farms in Waterloo. A significant portion of the land in Southern Ontario is used as farmland.
Grapevines growing in Prince Edward County, a wine-growing region
A sign marking the Ottawa Greenbelt, an initiative to protect farmland and limit urban sprawl
The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station is one of three nuclear power stations in Ontario.
The Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric Generating Stations are hydroelectric plants located in Niagara Falls.
Osgoode Hall houses the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the appellate court for the province.
The Ontario Legislative Building at Queen's Park. The building serves as the meeting place for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
Map of the counties, regional municipalities, districts, and municipalities of Ontario.
An Ontario licence plate with the slogan Yours to Discover at the bottom of the plate
Thunder Bay International Airport is one of five international airports operating in Ontario.
Highway 400 in Seguin. The roadway forms a part of the province's 400-series highways.

Almost all of Ontario's 2700 km border with the United States follows inland waterways: from the westerly Lake of the Woods, eastward along the major rivers and lakes of the Great Lakes/Saint Lawrence River drainage system.


State in the Great Lakes region of the upper Midwestern United States.

State in the Great Lakes region of the upper Midwestern United States.

Père Marquette and the Indians (1869) by Wilhelm Lamprecht
Map of British America showing the original boundaries of the Province of Quebec and its Quebec Act of 1774 post-annexation boundaries
Treaty of Paris, by Benjamin West (1783), an unfinished painting of the American diplomatic negotiators of the Treaty of Paris which brought official conclusion to the Revolutionary War and gave possession of Michigan and other territory to the new United States
Detroit in the mid-twentieth century. At the time, the city was the fourth-largest U.S. metropolis by population, and held about one-third of the state's population.
The Michigan State Capitol in Lansing houses the legislative branch of the government of the U.S. state of Michigan.
The floor of the Michigan House of Representatives
Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) speaking at a National Guard ceremony in 2019
Michigan Supreme Court at the Hall of Justice
Map of the Saint Lawrence River/Great Lakes Watershed in North America. Its drainage area includes the Great Lakes, the world's largest system of freshwater lakes. The basin covers nearly all of Michigan.
The Huron National Wildlife Refuge, one of the fifteen federal wildernesses in Michigan
Mackinac Island, an island and resort area at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac. More than 80% of the island is preserved as Mackinac Island State Park.
Sleeping Bear Dunes, along the northwest coast of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan
The Tahquamenon Falls in the Upper Peninsula
The Pointe Mouillee State Game Area, one of the 221 state game and wildlife areas in Michigan. It encompasses 7,483 acres of hunting, recreational, and protected wildlife and wetland areas at the mouth of the Huron River at Lake Erie, as well as smaller outlying areas within the Detroit River.
Köppen climate types of Michigan, using 1991-2020 climate normals.
Michigan population distribution
The Basilica of Sainte Anne de Détroit is the second-oldest continuously operating Roman Catholic parish in the country.
The Ambassador Bridge, a suspension bridge that connects Detroit with Windsor, Ontario, in Canada. It is the busiest international border crossing in North America in terms of trade volume.
Michigan is the center of the American automotive industry. The Renaissance Center in Downtown Detroit is the world headquarter of General Motors.
Ford Dearborn Proving Ground (DPG) completed major reconstruction and renovations in 2006.
Distribution of Michigan's jobs as percentages of entire workforce
Michigan is the leading U.S. producer of tart cherries, blueberries, pickling cucumbers, navy beans and petunias.
The world headquarters of the Kellogg's Company in Battle Creek
Mackinac Island is well-known for cultural events and a wide variety of architectural styles, including the Victorian Grand Hotel
Holland, Michigan, is the home of the Tulip Time Festival, the largest tulip festival in the U.S.
Marquette, Michigan, is home to a vast snowmobile trail system.
Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station on the shore of Lake Erie near Monroe
The Bluewater Bridge, a twin-span bridge across the St. Clair River that links Port Huron and Sarnia, Ontario
US Highway 2 (US 2) runs along Lake Michigan from Naubinway to its eastern terminus at St. Ignace.
The Mackinac Bridge, a suspension bridge spanning the Straits of Mackinac to connect the Upper and Lower peninsulas of Michigan
Aerial view of Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)
The Finlandia University in Hancock, Houghton County, Michigan
Cranbrook Schools, one of the leading college preparatory boarding schools in the country
Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor is the largest stadium in the Western Hemisphere, and the third-largest stadium in the world.
Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan
Dwarf lake iris

Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline of any political subdivision in the world, being bordered by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake St. Clair.


State in the Midwestern United States.

State in the Midwestern United States.

Mississippian copper plate found at the Saddle Site in Union County, Illinois
Illinois in 1718, approximate modern state area highlighted, from Carte de la Louisiane et du cours du Mississipi by Guillaume de L'Isle
The bell donated by King Louis XV in 1741 to the mission at Kaskaskia. It was later called the "Liberty Bell of the West", after it was rung to celebrate U.S. victory in the Revolution
In 1818, Illinois became the 21st U.S. state. The southern portion of Illinois Territory was admitted as the state of Illinois, and the rest was joined to Michigan Territory.
[[Old State Capitol State Historic Site|
Old State Capitol]]: Abraham Lincoln and other area legislators were instrumental in moving the state capitol to centrally located Springfield in 1839.
Embarkation of Union troops from Cairo on January 10, 1862
Charles Mound, the highest natural point in Illinois at 1,235 feet above sea level, is located in the Driftless Area in the northwestern part of the state.
At 279 feet above sea level, the lowest elevation point in the state is located near Cairo and the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
Köppen climate types of Illinois
Density map displaying the population of Illinois
The Baháʼí House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago at the heart of Chicago's financial center
Byron Nuclear Generating Station in Ogle County
Average annual wind power distribution for Illinois, 50 m height above ground (2009)
Soldier Field, Chicago
The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield
Illinois House of Representatives
Governor J. B. Pritzker (D)
University of Illinois
University of Chicago
University of Illinois Willard Airport
Inside O'Hare International Airport
Vandalia State House State Historic Site in Vandalia
The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago
Magnolia Manor is a Victorian period historic house museum in Cairo.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield
The Polish Museum of America in Chicago
A Railway Post Office preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union
Standard license plate introduced in 2017
Standard license plate 2001 to 2016
Illinois license plate design used throughout the 1980s and 1990s, displaying the Land of Lincoln slogan that has been featured on the state's plates since 1954

Owing to its central location and geography, the state is a major transportation hub: the Port of Chicago enjoys access to the Atlantic Ocean through the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Seaway, and to the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi River via the Illinois Waterway.

Detroit River

Aerial view of the Detroit River looking north
Satellite photo showing Lake Saint Clair (center) with the Detroit River connecting it to Lake Erie (to the south) and the St. Clair River connecting it to Lake Huron (to the north).
Aerial view of a classification yard and two train ferries, 1943
MV American Courage passing through the Detroit River. Lake freighters are a common sight on the river.

The Detroit River flows west and south for 24 nmi from Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie as a strait in the Great Lakes system.

Lake Superior taken by the Terra-MODIS satellite on May 7, 2022

Lake Superior

Lake Superior taken by the Terra-MODIS satellite on May 7, 2022
Lake Superior deepest point on the bathymetric map.
Lake Superior basin
A frozen Duluth Harbor Entrance
Lake Superior, by Walter Shirlaw
Geological map of North America showing cratons and basement rocks. The Midcontinent Rift is in white, here labeled Keweenawan Rift. Lake Superior occupies the apex of the rift; the section to its north marked "SUPERIOR" is the Superior Craton
Basaltic columns along Lake Superior
Historical map of Lake Superior and Northern Michigan, published 1879 by Rand McNally
Pictographs at Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario
Reconstructed Great Hall, Grand Portage National Monument, Minnesota
"Ice blockade in Marquette Harbor, June 1873", stereoscopic photo
Bedrock shoreline, Neys Provincial Park, Ontario
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes of North America, and among freshwater lakes, it is the world's largest by surface area and the third-largest by volume.