Lake Superior of the Great Lakes is the coldest in the US. Situated in the Northern part of the country, it lies in a cooler climate. Its average depth of 500 feet also makes it difficult for the sun’s rays to penetrate. It measures over 300 miles from East to West and over 100 miles from North to South.
Why Lake Superior is the coldest in the US
Lake Superior is the third-largest freshwater lake in the world. Its large size and high average depth as well as its Northern US border positioning mean it has all of the premises to be a cold lake.
This lake has its stories that come from its coldest temperature. For example, early explorers feared this lake as they thought it swallows up dead bodies of people in shipwrecks. But this phenomenon has also been tied to the cold waters of the lake. If a body is found on a lake, it is usually found floating at the surface of the water. Bacteria is what causes bodies to always rise on the surface. But Lake’s Superior waters are so cold (around 36 degrees Fahrenheit yearly average) that bacteria doesn’t form in the dead bodies. This is why many of them are still found at the bottom of the lake.
Beyond the lake’s legends
Science has shown there’s nothing mythical about the lake’s waters and that it’s the cold water temperature that makes it swallow up all types of living animals and humans in shipwrecks. But then there’ climatology that explains its cold waters further.
It is estimated that the surface temperature of the lake has risen by about 5 degrees over the past 5 decades. Still, the lake is the coldest in the country, and given its large size, it influences the surrounding climate as well.
The most influenced landmass is in Nova Scotia, an Eastern Canadian province. It’s here that the cold waters of the lake make winters a bit more bearable and summers a bit cooler. The lake is known to create sea-like breezes during the summer in its immediate vicinity. The most impactful breezes have been recorded in Nova Scotia.
Today, the lake remains cold. It has seasonal temperatures which mildly vary from one year to another. It can be as cold as 32 degrees and up to 55 degrees during some years.
The maximum depth of the lake is 1.333 feet. It’s also the lake with the highest elevation from all Great Lakes. This combination of factors can also be responsible for its chilly waters. It can be a fun place to visit as well. Some winters see this lake freezing. This means you can walk to islands such as the Apostle Islands where you can see frozen caves. Sea Caves at Devils Island can also be a good wintertime attraction when the cold waters of the lake are frozen. You can sail these islands in late spring as the ice starts to melt as well.