Lake Erie is one of the Great Lakes in North America and the thirteenth largest lake in the world. Lake Erie takes its name from the Indian Erie tribe, who originally settled on the South Shore. It forms the boundary between Canada (Ontario) to the north and the United States (Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York) to the west, south, and east.
The lake’s principal tributary rivers are the Detroit (carrying the discharge of Lake Huron), Huron, and Raisin rivers of Michigan; the Maumee, Portage, Sandusky, Cuyahoga, and Grand rivers of Ohio; the Cattaraugus Creek of New York; and the Grand River of Ontario.
The drainage basin covers parts of Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario. Because of its fertile soils, the basin is the most densely populated of the five lake basins. This post will share more facts about Lake Erie.
Lake Erie Introduction
Lake Erie is the fourth largest of the five Great Lakes of North America in surface area. On the lake's south shore are Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York in the United States, Michigan on the west shore, and Ontario in Canada on the north shore. The industrial economy of the lakeshore area depends heavily upon water transportation. The important steel industry depends upon the movement of iron ore and limestone across the Great Lakes to Lake Erie ports. Lake Erie's name is derived from an Iroquoian word that means "long tail." Aptly named, over 40 km of its sandy shore stretches out like a peninsula into the deepest part of the lake where sweeping sand cliffs dominate, left behind after the ancient glacial retreat.
Lake Erie Size
- The major axis of the lake extends from west-southwest to east-northeast for 241 miles (388 km), and the lake has a maximum width of 57 miles.
- The total area of the lake’s drainage basin is 30,140 square miles (78,062 square km), exclusive of the surface area, which is 9,910 square miles.
- With a mean surface height of 570 feet (170 meters) above sea level, the average depth of Lake Erie is only about 62 feet (18 m), and its deepest point is 210 feet (64 m).
- Erie is also the smallest lake by volume, with 480 cubic kilometers of water.
- Its coastline is approximately 1,286 kilometers, including the island.
|Length||241 mi (388 km)|
|Width||57 mi (92 km)|
|Surface area||9,910 square mi (2,5700 square km)|
|Drainage basin area||30,140 square miles (78,062 square km)|
|Elevation||570 feet (170 m)|
|Depth||62 ft (18 m) average; 210 ft (64 m) maximum|
|Volume||480 cubic km|
|Shoreline length||1,286 km|
It warms rapidly in the spring and summer and frequently freezes in winter. Lake Erie will be frozen from the beginning of December to the beginning of April of the following year, and the annual sailing period is eight months.
Erie is the most biologically productive and diverse of the Great Lakes due to its warm shallow waters. Alongside this astounding biodiversity, it offers freshwater to approximately 12.4 million people. Lake Erie is thought to be naturally more eutrophic than the other Great Lakes because of its shallower depth and the greater probability of nutrient-rich soils in its immediate drainage basin. So this region supports the largest vine culture in North America, outside of California, due to the nutrient-rich soils.
Lake Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume and the shallowest. It is also the most southerly and biologically diverse of the Great Lakes. Its shallow depth makes it the warmest Great Lake and a favorite destination for summer recreationists and migrating birds. Lake Erie also supports a variety of industries and is home to one of the world's largest and most valuable freshwater commercial and sport fisheries. The lakeshore has developed industries and serious lake water pollution, which has led to the closure of many lakeside tourist areas. Some of Lake Erie's environmental damage has diminished since the 1970s.