Do You Know These Facts About the Great Lakes?


By: Tasha Moore

6 Min Quiz

Image: Andrea_Hill/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario are the five North American Great Lakes which were carved by ancient glaciers. Take this Great Lakes facts test and see how much you know about these bodies of water and their surrounding regions. You'll find out just how important the Great Lakes are to the world at the end of this digital geography journey.

Not too long ago, there was a certain lake, whose name shall be revealed in the quiz, that was the sixth Great Lake for just a brief time until that grand status was promptly revoked after folks voiced mild protest. That's how deep the love of the majestic five lakes goes with many people, and for very good reasons that you will learn while taking this world map drill. The lakes support a slew of wildlife, as well as earthlings and their jobs, for starters. The Great Lakes provide 20 percent of the Earth's freshwater supply. They are so huge that you'd be able to see the contours of these geographical structures from as far away as the Moon! 

These lakes help to sustain life on planet Earth, so it's worth your while to learn as much as possible with this quiz. Scroll on and dive deep into some Great Lakes facts!

Which of these bodies of water is not one of the Great Lakes?

The five Great Lakes of North America include Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Lake Winnipesaukee is the largest lake in the U.S. state of New Hampshire.


The only Great Lake that lies entirely within the United States is ________?

Lake Michigan borders Wisconsin to the east, Illinois to the northeast, Indiana to the north and Michigan to the west. The other four Great Lakes share both Canadian and American territory.


Lake Michigan and Lake Superior border which national forest on either side?

Hiawatha National Forest is located at Michigan's upper peninsula in the city of Manistique. Lake Superior and Lake Michigan border the forest's east and west segments on either side of the peninsula, with Lake Superior to the north and Lake Michigan to the south.


Which islands sit within Lake Huron?

The Manitoulin Islands line the U.S.-Canadian border. Manitoulin Island lies in Ontario, Canada and is the largest freshwater island in the world. In 1836, British authorities had planned to migrate some of Canada's Indian population to Manitoulin; however, European settlers coveted the island farmland.


The Great Lakes provide what percentage of the world's freshwater?

The five large Great Lakes supply 95 percent of the fresh water in the United States. All five North American lakes drain into the Atlantic Ocean through the Saint Lawrence River.


What is the name of the steamship that sank in Lake Superior on November 10, 1975?

Canadian singer and songwriter Gordon Lightfoot commemorated the ship in his 1976 song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." The S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald was classified as a bulk cargo vessel that set sail on the Great Lakes in 1958. The ship measured 730 feet long, 39 feet high and 75 feet wide.


Do you know the branch of the United States military that established a boot camp in the Great Lakes region?

The U.S. Navy base installation at Great Lakes began operation on July 1, 1911. The boot camp provides technical training for surface warfare. Nearly 20,000 civilian and military personnel live and work at the facility.


What fraction of Michigan's population lives within the Great Lakes basin?

Nearly 35 million U.S. and Canadian citizens live in regions that are either directly or indirectly affected by the Great Lakes. Specifically, for one-tenth of Michigan's population, the lakes are a source of fresh drinking water and they provide economic and recreational comfort for the region.


The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor is posted at which of the Great Lakes?

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor services the steel-producing region of northwest Indiana. By way of the harbor, steel is distributed to the entire Midwest region. The harbor also processes more international cargo than any other Great Lakes port.


Salmon and trout are two top predator fish in what Great Lake?

Due to threats of non-native species, habitat changes, fish culling and pollutants, Great Lakes apex predator fish are maintained partly through stocking intervention programs. Predator fish in all Great Lakes serve important roles in the lakes' food chain and are an important human food source.


Can you choose the Great Lake that does not border the U.S. state of Michigan?

The five Great Lakes touch eight states in the U.S., including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New York, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Illinois. The easternmost point of the Great Lakes lies north of Syracuse in New York state, and Duluth, Minnesota, is near the westernmost extremity.


Which principality ruled the Great Lakes between 1760 and 1796?

The British navy ruled the Great Lakes after the collapse of New France, which is the name that was given to French territories of the Americas. For a span of 13 years after the American Revolution, both England and America reinforced their authorities with armed vessels that patroled the lakes.


What is the name of the Great Lake where the sunken petroleum barge Argo was found?

Researcher Tom Kowalczk discovered the submerged petroleum tank barge Argo in the summer of 2015. The barge was built in 1911 in Baltimore, Maryland, weighing 421 tons, and it sank on Oct. 20, 1937 in Lake Erie.


Do you know the name of the storm that's considered the worst marine catastrophe in the history of the Great Lakes?

The Great Storm of 1913 pummeled the Great Lakes in November for several days. Great Lakes vessels endured icy conditions and 100 km/h winds that assailed the region for many hours.


Approximately how many shipwrecks are lost beneath the surface of the Great Lakes?

Historians estimate that some remnants of more than 10,000 shipwrecks are submerged in the Great Lakes. Typical reasons for the shipwrecks included human error, fires, storms, ice and fog.


Which other country borders the Great Lakes besides the United States?

Lakes Huron, Erie, Superior and Ontario partially occupy the Canadian province of Ontario, whose land borders all four lakes along their northern edges. Lake Michigan lies entirely within United States territory.


Sodus Point was once an active port for coal shipping on the shore of ________?

The Sodus Point coal trestle of New York state was considered a small operation compared to other frameworks of its kind. Sodus Point hauled the coal brought over by the Pennsylvania Railroad from the Clearfield Coal District in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.


What is the name of the first ship that sailed the upper region of the Great Lakes?

Built by French explorer Rene-Robert Cavalier de LaSalle, "Le Griffon" disappeared in the upper Lake Michigan region on Sept. 18, 1679. The lost Griffon is considered the "Holy Grail" of shipwrecks. The vessel set sail on Aug. 7, 1679 to several Great Lakes destinations before its demise.


The longest active vessel on the Great Lakes is called what?

Built in 1911, the S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker freighter vessel is 617 feet long. During the 8,600-ton ship's first three years of action, it was the largest vessel on the Great Lakes and, therefore, was "Queen of the Lakes" during its reign.


Nestled on the banks of the Maumee River and Lake Erie, which Ohio city is referred to as "Glass City"?

Toledo, Ohio has been a leading producer in the glass industry for many years. The city lies at the westernmost tip of Lake Erie and sits on the west bank of the Maumee River, which converges with Lake Erie approximately eight miles northeast of the city.


The HMS Ontario was a ship that was lost on Lake Ontario in the year ________?

Researcher Jim Kennard discovered the HMS Ontario submerged in 500 feet of water off Lake Ontario's south shore. According to Kennard, the ship was in "excellent condition" when he found it with its 1780-year masts still standing.


What is the name of the tugboat steamer that sank in Lake Michigan in July of 1922?

The Robert C. Pringle is a wooden tugboat that measures 101 feet. It was discovered off the coast of Sheboygan, Wisconsin in "fine condition." The Pringle's found condition is a testament to how well shipwrecks are preserved in deep freshwater environments.


Can you estimate the combined area of the Great Lakes?

Ancient glaciers sculpted the Great Lakes, whose large contours can be seen from as far away as the Moon. It is estimated that the five lakes contain roughly 23,000 cubic kilometers of freshwater.


Which river connects Lake Huron to Lake Superior?

St. Mary's River is the most tapered water region of the Great Lakes system and serves as a channel for Lake Superior. The river's Soo Canals, or Sault Ste. Marie Canals, enable commercial shipping through the waterways.


How many jobs are intricately linked to all five Great Lakes?

At the turn of the 21st-century, politicians and environmentalists have made great strides to protect the Great Lakes from contamination, environmental hazards and invasive wildlife species. Preserving the lakes is pivotal for sustaining the $62 billion in wages that the five lakes generate.


In what year did the United States "Great Lakes Restoration Initiative" begin?

Introduced by Sens. George Voinovich of Ohio and Carl Levin of Michigan, the U.S. Congress "Great Lakes Ecosystem Protection Act of 2010" authorized more than $500 million to fund Great Lakes protection and restoration programs. Subsequent protection acts are revised continuances.


The first United States warship that was used to patrol the Great Lakes was called ________?

The 1843, the U.S.S. Michigan was built with sweeping weaponry and propulsion capabilities. With an eight-inch cannon, the Michigan patrolled the Great Lakes, hauling lumber magnate Ben Bagnall out from Chicago and settling a dispute over Beaver Island between the Mormons and the Irish, among other feats.


Do you know the name of the massive machine that was used to unload iron ore from ore freighters on the Great Lakes at the turn of the twentieth century?

In the early 1800s, unloading 5,000 tons of ore from off a ship took 12 hours and 100 men. Patented in 1898 by George H. Hulett from Cleveland, the 90-foot-tall ore unloading machine could scoop up between 15 to 20 tons of ore at a time.


There was a sixth Great Lake for a brief time. Which one was it?

Lake Champlain, which is nestled along the New York-Vermont border, has as much shoreline as Lake Ontario and is six times as deep as Lake Erie. On March 6, 1998, President Clinton signed a bill declaring Lake Champlain a Great Lake. The bill was rescinded on March 24.


The Niagara River connects Lake Ontario to which other Great Lake?

The Niagara River is a drainage vent for four of the five Great Lakes: Huron, Erie, Superior and Michigan. The river flows from south to north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario for a span of 35 miles.


The ________ is the waterway that allows shipping access from the Atlantic Ocean to the crown of Lake Superior.

In 1954, the United States and Canada agreed to collaborate on building and maintaining the deep-draft St. Lawrence Seaway between Lake Erie and Montreal. It took five years to construct the Seaway, an idea that Jacques Cartier first conceived in 1536.


The "storm of the century" that occurred in 1905 inspired the creation of the Split Rock Lighthouse which is positioned at which Great Lake?

Perched on a steep cliff, the Split Rock Lighthouse dots the north shore of Lake Superior in Two Harbors, Minnesota . The lighthouse was constructed in 1910 and is now a maritime museum.


Can you spot the war that was not fought near the Great Lakes region?

The Sixty Years' War includes the War of 1812, the French and Indian War and several theaters of the American Revolution. Major facets of these wars, which spanned several generations, concerned the control of the Great Lakes region.


A U.S. Life Saving Station was positioned at the bay of what Great Lake?

Inaugurated in 1876, the Marblehead U.S. Lifesaving Station mimicked the architecture of other lifesaving stations of the Great Lakes region. The station included equipment, a rescue boat and a tower where a crewman scanned the waters for distressed boats.


Of these choices, can you choose the one that is not a city on the Great Lakes?

Albany is the capital city of New York state, and it's located near the New York-Massachusetts border. Cleveland, Ohio marks Lake Erie's southern shore; Toronto, Canada borders Lake Ontario's western shoreline; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin rests along Lake Michigan's west bank.


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