Minnesota lakes trivia

MNlakesHave you ever wondered why Minnesota has so many lakes, how these lakes formed, which are the deepest and what are the most common names? If so, then read on!

First of all, only 2% of the earth’s surface is covered by freshwater. The Great Lakes (Superior, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Erie) make up the largest continuous volume of fresh water on earth, with Lake Superior covering the greatest area of any purely freshwater lake.

The Great Lakes and the lakes in Minnesota were formed as glaciers receded during the last ice age. Approximately 15,000 years ago to about 9,000 years ago, glaciers alternately retreated and advanced over the landscape, carving out holes and leaving behind ice chunks. As these ice chunks melted in the holes left behind, lakes were formed. Lakes formed in this way are called kettle lakes.

The Red River Valley and part of southern Canada was covered by an enormous glacial lake from 12,000 to 9,000 years ago named Lake Agassiz. Lake Winnipeg and Lake of the Woods are remnants of Lake Agassiz. As this lake drained into the Minnesota River and the Great Lakes, it left behind flat land and fertile sediment. That is why the Red River Valley and the Minnesota River Valley are so productive for farming.

There are only four counties in Minnesota with no natural lakes: Mower, Olmsted, Pipestone, and Rock. Otter Tail County has 1,048 lakes, which is the most lakes of any county in the United States. We always say the Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes; however, there are actually 11,842 lakes in Minnesota that are larger than 10 acres!

The largest lake in Minnesota is Red Lake, which includes both the upper and lower portions. Second in line is Mille Lacs and third is Leech Lake. The lake with the most shoreline is Lake Vermillion at 290 miles.

The deepest lake that borders Minnesota is Lake Superior, which reaches a maximum depth of 1,290 feet. The deepest inland natural lake is Lake Saganaga in Cook County (240 feet deep), The deepest lakes in this area are Six, which reaches 140 feet and Otter Tail, which reaches 120 feet.

With all these lakes, it takes quite a lot of names to cover them all. There are a few names that were used abundantly. Naturally, these are names that describe the shape or the nature of the lake. There are 115 lakes in Minnesota that contain the word “Long”. Coming in second is “Mud”, which is used 92 times. Third most used is “Rice”, covering 78 lakes.

Next week, I will talk about the different types of algae and scums that can be found on a lake’s surface.