Each of the Great Lakes has their own unique properties that set them apart from each other, and all other lakes in the country. Most notably, they're huge, and combined, provide the largest supply of freshwater in the world.

But one of our Great Lakes stands out in a number of ways from all the rest, and it happens to be our neighbor to the west - Lake Michigan.

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Of course, people know facts about the rest of the lakes. Lake Superior is named that for a reason. It's the largest, the deepest, and the coldest. In fact, it's so cold, that ships that sink are VERY slow to decompose, and any bodies that happen to be on board likely won't surface either.

Lake Erie is the shallowest, and causes insane amounts of Lake Effect snow in the Buffalo area. Lake Huron is the second largest lake in volume, and Lake Ontario is the smallest in all aspects.

But Lake Michigan is a world of its own, and has a multitude of strange facts about it, that NO other lake in the world has.

Mackinac Straits
Google Earth/Canva

Only one way in and out (sort of)

Of all the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan has the most interesting way of moving water through it. In terms of the water that flows entirely through the Great Lakes system, it only has one way in and out. Because water from Lake Superior actually empties into Lake Huron first. Meaning that all water in and out of Lake Michigan comes from Lake Huron at the Mackinac Straits.

Now I put "sort of" in the headline here because TECHNICALLY, the water in Lake Michigan does have some other outlets in the form of rivers. One of the biggest is the Illinois River, which flows right into downtown Chicago, and down the state, eventually into the Mississippi River, which of course dumps into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Only Great Lake Fully In the U.S.

Most of the Great Lakes serve as a dividing line between Canada and the U.S. as well. Nearly all of them, PLUS Lake St. Clair have dividing lines MOSTLY right down the middle that split the coasts between the two countries.

Not Lake Michigan. It is the only one of the five that is wholly inside of the United States of America. It technically starts on its north end where the water flows in and out at the Mackinac Straits.

However, Lake Michigan is tied with Lake Erie in bordering the most States at 4.

American Canadian Great Lakes
Google Earth/Canva

How Long Does Lake Michigan Hold its Water?

Lake Huron dumps BILLIONS of gallons of water into Lake Michigan every year, especially in the spring and summer as winter melt from snow and ice flows into Lake Superior and Huron. But with only one in and out from the Great Lakes System, it severely disrupts how fast water can flow out of the Lake.

As such, it can take nearly a century for the water in Lake Michigan to completely circulate through it. Scientists say because of its unique setup, on average, it will take 99 years for the water in Lake Michigan to be completely replaced.

So you MIGHT live long enough for ONE full cycle of water in Lake Michigan.

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