LAB EXERCISE

The Great Lakes

Download Assignment Sheet Here PDF

This lab is designed to guide you through six separate websites that discuss the physical geography of the Great Lakes. Several questions refer to topics that have not been covered in class, but are designed to broaden your understanding of the Great Lakes area.

The answers to the first ten questions can be found in the following website. This website should open in a separate window and leave this page intact. Therefore, you can switch back and forth from this page without losing your place.

MSU Geography of the Great Lakes Region

1. Go to Part II (Physical Geography) and from there go to B. Glacial History. Name three of the major ice lobes that once covered the Great Lakes area.

2. Again, go to Part II (Physical Geography) and from there go to B. Glacial History. Under "Quaternary Glaciation" identify one landmark that represents the boundary of greatest glaciation (these landmarks represent the position furthest south that the glaciers moved).

3. Referring to that same page, (Part II, B. Glacial History, under "Quaternary Glaciation") how long ago was it that this glacial period began?

4. Go to Part II (Physical Geography) and from there go to C. Landforms. Draw a rough sketch of Michigan's lower peninsula and identify the location of three drumlin fields.

5. Again, go to Part II (Physical Geography) and from there go to C. Landforms. Once again, draw a rough sketch of Michigan's lower peninsula and identify the general areas where eskers can be found.

6. One more time, go to Part II (Physical Geography) and from there go to C. Landforms. Describe how a kame forms.

7. Go to Part II (Physical Geography) and from there go to D. Soils. What is the state soil of Michigan?

8. Why was this soil picked as Michigan's state soil (Part II, D. Soils)?

9. Go to Part II (Physical Geography) and from there go to E. Hydrology. Click on "Depth and Temperature" and list the greatest depth of each of the five Great Lakes (in meters). You only need to look at the black and white diagram to get your answers. The colored maps of the individual lakes do not show enough detail.

10. Go to Part V (Contemporary Land Uses) and from there go to E. Shipping. Under Great Lakes Ports (at the top), wait for all of the maps to appear and take a look at the map on the bottom of the page. What four major items could we expect to find loaded in the ships that pass by us here in Port Huron? Based on the map, which one of these goods is travelling North?

The answers to the next ten questions can be found in the following website. Again, this website should open in a separate window and leave this page intact.

EPA Great Lakes Environmental Atlas PDF

11. Go to Chapter One and look under "Physical Characteristics of the System" (page 7 of 51). How many cubic kilometers of water are in the Great Lakes?

12. Again, go to Chapter One and look under "Physical Characteristics of the System" (page 7 of 51). What are the main pollutants entering the Great Lakes (names and sources)?

13. Still on the same page (Chapter One "Physical Characteristics of the System" - page 7 of 51), what is the largest Great Lake and what is the smallest Great Lake (in terms of volume)?

For this next question, be sure to go to Chapter Four. There is a section in Chapter One called "Toxic Contaminants", but this is the wrong section. You need to go to Chapter Four (page 34 of 51).

14. Go to Chapter Four and look under "Toxic Contaminants" (page 34 of 51). What toxic contaminants exist in the great lakes and what harm can they cause to humans?

15. Again, go to Chapter Four and look under "Toxic Contaminants" (page 34 of 51). If a toxic contaminant is found only in trace amounts in the water itself, can it still be harmful to humans (be sure to mention biomagnification and describe what it is)?

16. Go to Chapter Four and look under "Exotic Species" (page 39 of 51). Identify two exotic species in the water and two exotic plant species on land in the Great Lakes area.

17. Go to Chapter Four and look under "Fish Consumption Advisories" - page 39 of 51 (box in the upper right). Who is the most susceptible to toxic contaminants in fish (besides just the people who eat a lot of sport caught fish)?

18. Go to Chapter Four and look under "Major Diversion Proposals" - page 41 of 51 (box in the upper right). what states are interested in the water from the Great Lakes (besides those near the Great Lakes)?

19. Go to Chapter Four and look under "Other Basin Concerns" (page 41 of 51). What are the sources of acid precipitation? Identify three sources.

20. Go to Chapter Six and look under "The Future of the Great Lakes" (page 47 of 51). Based on what they are saying here, can we continue to do the things we are doing? Please explain.

The answers to the next four questions can be found in the following website. The website is tempermental. If it does not work for you, please come back and try it again. Perhaps you can move on to question 25.

Great Lakes Water Levels

21. What can cause short-term variations in the levels of the Great Lakes (list two)?

22. Explain the seasonal fluctuations in the levels of the Great Lakes.

23. What causes long-term (multi-year) fluctuations in the levels of the Great Lakes (list two items)?

24. Name three ways in which the fluctuating lake levels can affect humans (their activities or their structures). You may not find this on the website. Think about it and name three.

Great Lakes Dredging - A

25. Read the first paragraph and list the following for the U.S. portion of the Great Lakes. Don't just write down four numbers on your assignment sheet. Identify each of the four numbers. You'll have to squeeze in your answers - do your best.

      number of harbors
      number of locks
      miles of breakwaters/jetties
      miles of maintained navigational channels

Great Lakes Dredging - B

26. What is dredging and why is it necessary?

27. List three ways in which dredged material can be used.

28. Click Here and click the "NEXT" button five times and read it all. How is SC4 helping to keep pollution out of the Great Lakes?

29. Why are the plants important for helping to filter this runoff? In other words, why not just have open ditches with bare soil? If you don't know the answer right off the top of your head, then look it up online.

30. Click Here and wait for the page to load. Click on the Great Lakes Water Report for the month when this lab was assigned. Based on the information for the first day of that month, list the elevation of the five Great Lakes as well as Lake St. Clair. Are these elevations higher or lower than their long-term average (each lake may vary)?

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