Lake Michigan Coast



Lake Michigan is the fifth largest fresh water lake in the world
with a surface area of over 14 million acres (22,400 square miles).
The Lake Michigan Coast shoreline is 1,640 miles long.




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Lake Michigan is the third-largest of the five Great Lakes in North America (surface area) and has a volume of 1,180 cubic miles. It is the only Great Lake that is totally inside the United States of America. The name "Michigan" comes from the Ojibwa Indian word "mishigami", meaning "great water."

    Lake Michigan is 307 miles long and 118 miles wide with an average depth of 279 feet and a maximum depth of 923 feet.

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The world's largest fresh water sand dunes line the Lake Michigan Coast. The Milwaukee Reef runs under Lake Michigan from Milwaukee to somewhere between Grand Haven and Muskegon. It divides Lake Michigan into northern and southern pools. Each pool has a clockwise flow of water because of rivers, winds, and the Coriolis effect.

Winds from the west usually moves the surface water toward the east. This moderates the temperatures of the western Michigan coast. There is a difference in summer temperatures of about 5 to 10 degrees between the eastern and western coasts of Lake Michigan.

    Lake Michigan's surface is 577 feet above sea level, which is the same as Lake Huron. They are connected through the Straits of Mackinac at the top of Michigan's lower peninsula. Lake Huron is 20 feet lower than Lake Superior which is fed by the connecting St. Marys River. Lake Erie is 9 feet lower than Lake Huron which feeds it through the St. Clair River (through Lake St. Clair).

Lake levels are usually higher in October and November, and are the lowest in the winter.

Twelve million people live on the Lake Michigan Coast with Chicago as its largest city. 46 million people visit the Lake Michigan coast each year, spending over 12 billion dollars.



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