The Great Lakes are a group of 5 large freshwater lakes, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, located on the border of Canada and the United States. Combined, the lakes have a total surface area of 244,106 km2 (94,250 sq mi) and a total water volume of 22,671 km3 (5,439 cubic miles). Amazingly, these lakes contain about 21% of the entire fresh water supply of the planet. The lakes are an important area for cargo transport, fishing, tourism and as a water supply. Let’s find out which of the Great Lakes is the largest.
What is the largest Great Lake?
As you might have guessed from its name, Lake Superior is the largest Great Lake in terms of surface area. It covers a total area of approximately 82,000 km2 (31,700 sq mi), which also makes it the largest lake in the world by surface area. It is also the largest of the Great Lakes in terms of water volume with approximately 12,000 km3 (2,900 cubic miles). Lake Superior holds a number of other records too, such as the largest Great Lake by average depth at 147 m (483 ft) and deepest maximum depth at 407 m (1,335 ft).
The second largest lake by surface area is Lake Huron at approximately 60,000 km2 (23,000 sq mi). The second largest lake by water volume is Lake Michigan at approximately 4,900 km3 (1,180 cubic miles).
The smallest Great Lake in terms of surface area is Lake Ontario and the smallest lake by water volume is Lake Erie.
Did you know?
Lake St. Clair is a part of the Great Lakes System and connects Lake Huron and Lake Erie, but it is not usually classified as one of the Great Lakes because it is much smaller than any of the other lakes.