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Superior

lake, feet, miles, shore, shores and united

SUPERIOR, Lake, the largest expanse of fresh water in the world and the most westerly and most elevated of the great lakes of the Saint Lawrence basin; lat. 46° 30' to 49° N.; long. 84° 30' to 92° 20' W. It washes the shores of the State of Minnesota on the west, of Wisconsin and the northern peninsula of Michigan on the south and of Canada on the north and east. The greatest length, measured on a curve through its centre from east to west, is 420 miles; greatest breadth, 167 miles; cir cuit, about 1,750 miles; estimated area, 31,200 square miles; height above sea-level, 602 feet; approximate mean depth, 900 feet; maximum depth, 1,008 feet. It is of very irregular shape, widening out toward its centre and gradually narrowing, partly toward its eastern but much more toward its western extremity, so as to form an irregular crescent, with its convexity on the north and its concavity on the south. The northern shore is generally bold and ele vated, presenting almost continuous ranges of cliffs, which vary in height from 300 to 1,500 feet; the southern shore is low and sandy, though occasionally interrupted by limestone ridges, the most remarkable of which, situated toward the eastern extremig, present a per pendicular wall 300 feet high, broken by nu merous caverns and projections, and forming, under the name of the Pictured Rocks (q.v.), one of the greatest natural curiosities of the United States. The central portion of the lake is clear of islands, but these are numerous to ward both the southern and the northern shores. In the former direction they are small, and, being insufficient to give shelter behind them, only increase the difficulties of navigation with out contributing to form a single good harbor. On the north shore several of them, more es pecially the Isle Royale, are of considerable dimensions, and along with the indentations of the coast afford good shelter for vessels. The water of the lake, remarkable for its trans parency, derives its supplies from a basin which is estimated at 54,000 square miles, and is drained by more than 200 streams. The water

never freezes except in the shallow regions along shore. About 30 of the islands are of considerable size, but they are almost all im petuous torrents, interrupted by rocks and rap ids. Superior discharges into Lake Huron, at the southeast end, by Saint Mary's River, which at Sault Sainte Marie descends 22 feet in three qu4rters of a mile, navigation being here carried on by means of two ship canals, one on the Canadian, the other on the United States side. Within the lake itself the only obstruction to its navigation are the violent gales to which it is subject. It is well sup plied with fish, principally trout, whitefish and sturgeon. There are a great number of fishing stations. Large deposits of copper and iron are worked on the shores of the lake, especially on the southern shore along the northern coast of Michigan. The boundary line between Can ada and the United States, in passing through Lake Superior, proceeds from the outlet nearly through its centre till it approaches Isle Roy ale, when it bends north so as to give that island entirely to the United States, and is then carried south-southwest to its termination at the mouth of the Pigeon, in lat. 48° N. The chief towns on the shores of Lake Superior are Duluth, Minn., at the western extremity, with an excellent harbor; Superior, Wis., near Duluth; Marquette, Mich.; Fort William, On tario, also with a good harbor; and Port Ar thur, Ontario. Consult Agassiz, 'Lake Supe rior: Its Physical Character, Vegetation and Animals' (Boston 1850) and Martin,'Progress ive Development of Resources in the Lake Superior Region) (In American Geographical Society publications, Vol. XLIII, New York 1911).