Articles from July 2011
It’s Dragon Boat time in Grand Marais. Team Gunflint will be on the water at 11:15 for our first race. Followed by our second heat at 2:00. Depending how we end up with our combined times in the standings, we could be racing in the finals for our division or like last year, the overall! About half of our team is new this year but the practice went well last night. Come cheer us and the other 17 teams on, the races are fun to watch. Paddles up, paddles in…
While looking up how many square miles the surface area of Lake Superior is for yesterday’s blog post, I came across a Lake Superior Facts Website. Thought I would share the fun facts so you all can baffle your friends with how much you know about the Big Lake!
SIZE, DEPTH, WATERSHED, WATER QUALITY, etc
1. Lake Superior is, by surface area, the world’s largest freshwater lake.
2. The surface area of Lake Superior (31,700 square miles or 82,170 square kilometers) is greater than the combined areas of Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.
3. Lake Superior contains as much water as all the other Great Lakes combined, even throwing in two extra Lake Eries.
4. Lake Superior contains 10% of all the earth’s fresh surface water.
5. There is enough water in Lake Superior (3,000,000,000,000,000–or 3 quadrillion– gallons) to flood all of North and South America to a depth of one foot.
6. The deepest point in Lake Superior (about 40 miles north of Munising, Michigan) is 1,300 feet (400 meters) below the surface.
7. Over 300 streams and rivers empty into Lake Superior.
8, The average elevation of Lake Superior is about 602 feet above sea level.
9. The Lake Superior watershed region ranges in size from 160 miles inland near Wabakimi Provincial Park to only 5 miles inland from Pictured Rocks National Seashore.
10. The Lake Superior shoreline, if straightened out, could connect Duluth and the Bahama Islands.
11. The average underwater visibility of Lake Superior is 27 feet, making it easily the cleanest and clearest of the Great Lakes. Underwater visibility in places reaches 100 feet. Lake Superior has been described as “the most oligotrophic lake in the world.”
12. The lake is about 350 miles (563 km) in length and 160 miles (257 km) in width.
13. In the summer, the sun sets more than 35 minutes later on the western shore of Lake Superior than at its southeastern edge.
GEOLOGY, FLORA AND FAUNA, CLIMATE, etc.
1. Lake Superior is one of the earth’s youngest major features, at only about 10,000 years of age–dating to the last glacial retreat. By comparison, the earth’s second largest lake (by surface area, and largest by volume), Lake Baikal in Russia, is 25 million years old.
2. Fifty-eight orchid species are native to the Lake Superior basin. In North America, only Florida has more native orchid species.
3. Lake Superior produces the greatest lake effect snows on earth. (Significant lake effect snows are a rare phenomenon, occurring–besides on the Great Lakes–only on the east shore of Hudson Bay and the west coasts of two Japanese islands.) Lake effect snows extend 20 to 30 miles inland, primarily on the Ontario shore southeast of Marathon, and from Sault Ste. Marie to the Wisconsin-Michigan border. Average annual snowfall in Michigan’s Keweenaw exceeds 200 inches in places.
4. Lake Superior has been at its modern elevation for only about 2,000 years, when elevations of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron dropped, creating a rapids at Sault Ste. Marie.
5. Lake Superior has its origins in the North American Mid-Continent Rift of 1.1 to 1.2 billion years ago, which produced a huge plume of hot mantle where the present lake sits. The crust tore apart, leaving an arc-shaped scar stretching form Kansas through Minnesota, then down to Michigan.
6. Within its borders, Lake Superior has both the thickest, and nearly the thinnest, crust found anywhere in North America.
7. When European explorers visited Lake Superior in the 1600s they reported giant sturgeons (up to nine feet in length) and pike of greater than seven feet in length.
8. The largest tributary of Lake Superior, Ontario’s Nipigon River, was in the 1800s the finest brook trout water in the world. It produced the world record brook trout of 14.5 pounds.
9. Some of the world’s oldest rocks, about 2.7 billion years of age, can be found on the Ontario shore of Lake Superior.
10. The average annual water temperature of Lake Superior is 40º F. It only very rarely freezes over completely, and then usually just for hours. The last complete freezing of Lake Superior occurred in 1979.
11. Migrating birds of prey funnel down Lake Superior’s north shore in great numbers each fall. On a single day at Duluth’s Hawk Ridge as many as 100,000 birds of prey might pass by.
12. Lake Superior rests mostly on Precambrian rock at the southern edge of the Canadian shield, the largest exposure of such bedrock on the planet.
13. Sliver Islet, a Lake Superior island off Ontario’s north shore, was the site for 15 years in the 1800s of the world’s richest silver mine.
Growing up next to Lake Superior, I’ve been trained since birth to be prepared for any type of weather. The lake’s temperature only changes about five degrees from winter to summer so with over 31,000 square miles of surface area, if the wind is coming off the lake, it makes for a cool day along the shore. Yesterday I had a work meeting in Two Harbors before traveling through Duluth on my way to an overnighter in Grand Rapids for another meeting today. While in Two Harbors and Duluth, I was a little chilled because I was wearing a skirt. I figured it was getting warmer as I headed away from the lake to Grand Rapids, as I had to turn my heat off (Yes, I had the heat on low) to turning on the air conditioner. When I pulled into Grand Rapids, the temperature at the bank read 79! Amazing what a difference those few miles away from the big lake can make!
We woke up this morning to a cool breeze and smoke smell blowing in through the windows. While we have had a wet, soggy summer here, our neighbors in Canada, namely Ontario have not. There are currently 111 fires burning in the Province with little relief in site. From the Canadian Wildfire Aviation and Emergency Management Website:
Current Fire Situation
July 22, 2011
The forest fire battle continues across Ontario today. Thirteen new fires were reported yesterday. A few of these fires may be older and just detected because some smoke has lifted, improving visibility. The total number of fires currently burning in the province to date is 111. The fires cover 493,000 ha to date.
Cloud cover and some precipitation over parts of Northwestern Ontario slowed the fires growth somewhat but 11 new fires were detected. High winds in the southern part of the area of concern did cause some extreme fire behaviour. . Today’s weather forecast calls for cloud cover and some precipitation in the area of concern, clearing later in the day. A relatively quiet fire day with little smoke issues is expected. However, multiple fire starts are expected to occur over the next few days from thunderstorm activity.
Yesterday’s planned evacuations from multiple communities are completed. Evacuees were transported to Thunder Bay or Toronto and then moved to host locations including Greenstone, Mooseonee, Marathon, Ignace, and Ottawa. The number of evacuees to date is 3591. There are currently no evacuations planned for today. The MNR, EMO, and other partner agencies will continue to execute evacuations as needed and quickly and safely as possible.
Currently, there are over 2000 fire personnel engaged on Ontario fires. Of this 2000, 621 are from out of province. Provinces providing Ontario with firefighting resources include British Columbia, Yukon, Saskatchewan, Alberta, New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba, and Newfoundland/ Labrador. Firefighting equipment being used today includes 17 heavy bombers, 4 light bombers, 90+ helicopters and other support aircraft.
A Restricted Fire Zone continues to be implemented on the north western regions of the province. This fire restriction will remain in place until further notice. More information on Restricted Fire Zones is available at Current Restricted Fire Zones in Ontario.
Aviation, Forest Fire and Emergency Services continue to address fires with aggressive force.
To see where forest fires are burning click here:
I have been such a bad little blog writer lately. A few of the days I’ve just been plain lazy. A few more of the days it just seems that I don’t have as much to write about now that we don’t have a front yard full of dogs, or puppies to show off. A few of the other days it’s because we’ve been away from home without a laptop. In case you missed that I said “WE’VE BEEN AWAY FROM HOME”. Now that we don’t have all the dogs we can get away a little more.
Wednesday night we went up The Trail (Gunflint that is). It was the annual Gunflint Canoe Races that benefit the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department. So I told Sue Prom if she needed a paddling partner I’d volunteer myself. I’m thinking she’s wishing I wouldn’t have volunteered as I wasn’t much help. We didn’t bring home any Canoe Race “bling” but the Voyageur employees did! I think they placed first, second or third, or two of them or all of them in all the races! Oh well, we had fun and thankfully Bob and Shari Baker of Gunflint Pines graciously let us sleep in one of their vacant cabins so we didn’t have to drive all the way home! Mark liked not having to drive two hours to work yesterday morning.
Even though I wasn’t much help in the Canoe Race bling department, Sue let me be in the team picture. If you look close, I’m somewhere in the middle wearing a baseball hat. Look even closer and you can see Takum’s butt in the middle of the people in the loser left of the picture. Thanks Sue for giving this bad blog writer something to write about!