Great Bear Lake Size report

Great Bear Lake is the largest lake in Canada and the fourth-largest lake in North America. Tourists and day-trippers mostly flock to the lake for fishing, ice fishing, hunting, and more. The lake area was the busiest mining site due to the discovery of uranium deposits in the area in the early 20th century.

Great Bear Lake is located in northwestern Canada and is named for the many polar bears in the lake area, north of which the Arctic Circle passes. There are many small islands in the lake. The lake flows into the Mackenzie River through the 110-kilometer-long Great Bear River in the west.

Great Bear Lake is the most popular outdoor activity spot in the surrounding area due to its clear waters and beautiful natural environment, with lush forests growing along the lakeshores. However, the climate in the lake area is cold and wet in winter, so the surrounding area is sparsely populated.

Great Bear Lake Introduction

Great Bear Lake lies in the northern Fort Smith region and southeastern Inuvik region, Northwest Territories, Canada, lying astride the Arctic Circle, at an altitude of 186 meters (or 610 feet). It was discovered before 1800 by North West Company traders and later named for the polar bears that inhabited its shores. The lake is irregular in shape and contains many small islands. This lake region has magnificent scenery amongst the many islands and long fjord-like indentations of the coastline.

The terrain in this region is gently rolling, generally below 300 m in elevation, with occasional hills such as Grizzley Bear Mountain or the Scented Grass Hills reaching an elevation of 450 m. Port Radium, a mining center on the east coast, and Deline, a commercial point on the west coast, are the main settlements in the lake area.

Quick Facts
Altitude
610 feet (186 m)
Surface area
12,096 square miles (31,328 square km)
Maximum depth
1,356 feet (413 m)
Average depth
236 feet (72 m)
Catchment area
44,292 square miles (114,717 square km)
Shore length
1,690 miles (2,719 km)
Volume
536 cubic miles (2,236 cubic km)
Outflows
Great Bear River, 70 miles (113 km) long
Settlements
Port Radium, Deline
Frozen
October to July

Great Bear Lake Size

  • Great Bear Lake is roughly 200 miles (320 km) long and 25–110 miles (40–175 km) wide. Its surface area of 12,096 square miles (31,328 square km) makes it the largest lake in Canada and the fourth-largest in North America.
  • The average depth is 236 feet (72 m), with a maximum depth of 1,356 feet (413 m).
  • The shoreline of the lake is 1,690 miles (2,719 kilometers) long, and the total catchment area is 44,292 square miles (114,717 square kilometers), boasting a volume of 2,236 cubic kilometers (536 cubic miles)
  • The Great Bear River, 70 miles (113 kilometers) long, drains the lake westward through marshes into the Mackenzie River and forms an important transportation link during its four ice-free months.

Hydrology

The water temperature of Great Bear Lake is the lowest among all the big lakes. Its freezing period is from October to June of the following year, and the floating ice lasts until the end of July. So it is navigable from the middle of July to September.

Natural Resources

Great Bear Lake occupies a position close to the northern limit of trees. To the south and west are forests of black and white spruce interspersed with muskeg in the lower-lying, poorly drained regions. The forest declines to the north, giving way to tundra with trees in the more sheltered areas.

At the beginning of the 20th century, pitchblende was discovered on the east coast of Great Bear Lake. In 1930, radium and uranium were mined and refined, and by-products such as silver, copper, cobalt, and lead. Radium Ingot Port is the mining center and the largest settlement in the lake area. There are also many diamond mines around the lake.

Final Words

Great Bear Lake, which is backed by the mountains, provides the best ski resorts and facilities in the snowy winter and a variety of water entertainment activities in hot summer. Exhaustive mining ultimately depleted the reserves, and the communities were abandoned. The main human activities on the Great Bear Lake are fishing and hunting today, and some lodges around the lake are used for these purposes.


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