The Upper Lake is the largest of the five Great Lakes of North America and the second largest inland water after the Caspian Sea in terms of surface area and thus the largest freshwater lake in terms of area the largest and the largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia .
The Upper Lake is the border between Canada and the United States. Its water level is 184 m with a total area of 8203 8203 82,103 qkm about the size of Austria . Its greatest depth is 406 m, from the northernmost point to the southernmost, the distance is 290.2 km, the largest east-west extension is 599.6 km. The Upper Lake is bordered to the north by the province of Ontario in Canada 29,847 qkm of Canadian sea, 52,256 qkm of American sea and the State of Minnesota in the north, and to the south in the US states of Wisconsin and Michigan. The largest island in the lake is the Isle Royale, from the south, the Keweenaw Peninsula towers far into the lake.
The Upper Lake is the Great Lake with the best quality of water, since unlike the rest of the lakes, there are few industrial sites on its shores and it is not fed by the other lakes.
The lake has over 200 tributaries. The largest are the Nipigon River, the Saint Louis River, the Pigeon River, the Pic River, the White River, the Michipicoten River and the Kaministiquia River.
The Upper Lake flows over the Saint Marys River into Lake Huron and is thus part of the St. Lawrence Sea Route. The rapids on this river require locks, the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, so that ships can overcome the eight-meter difference in altitude to Lake Huron.
The Upper Lake was already an important traffic route for the Native American indigenous population. On the northwest bank, two rivers flow into the Pigeon River and the Kaministiquia River, serving as routes into the interior of today s Canada. The first whites were French fur traders, who were shown these connections by the Indians. The so-called Grand Portage on the Pigeon River was expanded to become a trading base, the North West Company, founded in 1783 by French-born traders, set up a fortified camp there, where they moved their headquarters during the summer months. The reconstructed base is now designated as Grand Portage National Monument.
In the 19th century mining settlements developed around the lake, iron ore in particular was mined and transported by ship across the lake. Today, Duluth is the United States largest domestic port, with coal and iron ore the most important assets.
The Upper Lake is an important transport route for iron ore and other mining products. Large cargo ships, so-called Lakers and smaller seaworthy ships of the Seawaymax class transport such goods on the St. Lawrence Seaway.
The south shore of the lake between Grand Marais and Whitefish Point is considered a ship graveyard, as in this area more ships have set than in any other part of the lake. These shipwrecks are protected by the Whitefish Point Underwater Preserve. The last larger ship that sunk on the big lake in a storm was the SS Edmund Fitzgerald. This ship was on November 10, 1975, about 27 km from Whitefish Point away with 29 crew members on board. In the history of shipping on the Upper Lake, storms have repeatedly brought several ships to a standstill, such as the Mataafa storm of November 28, 1905 or the Great Lakes Storm of 1913.