The size of lakes is measured by square miles of surface area. Based on this, the largest lake in the world by far is the Caspian Sea at 143,000 square miles. Its shores are in several countries, including Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Iran. The second largest lake in the world has a portion of its shoreline in the United States and some in Canada. Despite the Canadian shore, Lake Superior is considered the largest lake in America.
Lake Superior covers 31,700 square miles. Its shore touches Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Canadian province of Ontario. It is the largest lake in the chain that makes up the Great Lakes, as well as the one furthest north. According to Lake Superior.com, it holds 10% of the world’s surface fresh water and “Lake Superior’s 3 quadrillion gallons are enough to cover both North and South America under a foot of water.” Its deepest level is 1,276 feet below the surface.
Superior is famous for a number of things, not the least of which is its shipwrecks. The most famous of these is the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in a storm on November 10, 1975. All hands went down with it, a total of 29 men. The incident was popularized by a popular song by Canadian performer Gordon Lightfoot, called “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” which was released in 1976. A total of about 350 wrecks are on record.
The lake was used to move iron ore south for decades. According to the journal Nature:
Undoubtedly the greatest advantage possessed by the United States is that in the Lake Superior region they have the most extensive supplies of cheap and rich iron ores known to exist.
Lake Superior is the westernmost part of the Great Lakes basin, which includes Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, some of which empty into the St. Lawrence River.
Although the algae bloom problem in Superior is nowhere near what it is in Lake Erie, where these can cover the western third of the lake at time, the fact that Superior has this issue at all is a sign that pollution has started to affect the lake.