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TEACH Questions & Answers

What percentage of the entire world's freshwater supply is stored or contained in the Great Lakes?
from Adam in Westminster, Colorado

The Great Lakes contain 20% of the world's freshwater supply -- the largest freshwater system in the world! Collectively, the lakes contain over six quadrillion gallons of water.

The Great Lakes hold a number of other records as well:

  • Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, and the third largest by volume
  • The world's largest concentration of lighthouses is in the Great Lakes
  • The Great Lakes region is the only place in the world where "lake-effect" snow occurs
  • Some of the most ancient bedrock on the planet is found in the Great Lakes region --approaching 3 billion years in age
  • The longest stretch of freshwater dunes in the world is found along Lake Michigan

Thank you for your question!

Answered on February 1, 2001

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