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The Great Lakes


North America
[Image courtesy NASA's World Wind]


The Great Lakes are one of the most impressive physical features of North America, and among the most unique on the planet. Perhaps you've looked at them many times before, but wouldn't it be nice to look once more and suddenly see something so special that you'll never look at them the same way again? That's my wish. Here's an impressive view of the lakes from space:


Great Lakes
[Image courtesy NASA's Visible Earth]


"The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater seas located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface and volume. The total surface is 208,610 km2 (80,545 sq mi), and the total volume is 22,560 km3 (5,412 cu mi). The lakes are sometimes referred to as the North Coast or "Third Coast" by some citizens of the United States. The Great Lakes hold 21 percent of the world's surface fresh water" (from Wikipedia).

It seems very fitting then, with all of this fresh water, to find out that the state of Michigan is not shaped like a mitten (as some describe it), but rather like the head of ...


Great Lakes
[Image courtesy NASA's Visible Earth]


...a beaver!


Michigan beaver
[Image courtesy Wikipedia]


Lake Michigan is on the top part of the head, with Lake Huron and the St. Clair River on the bottom. The eye is Grand Traverse Bay, the teeth form part of Thunder Bay, and the mouth is Saginaw Bay (or we might say Sagi-gnaw :-) I found it quite interesting that the beaver was long in the eye instead of long in the tooth. I'd almost give my eye teeth to know why. These locations are on the following map, along with a few others I thought were either pertinent or quirky:


Michigan beaver


Here's another map with all of the borders removed. I hope you can see the beaver clearly now. Every time you look at a map of North America, you won't be able to miss it. Dam!


Michigan beaver
[Image courtesy Wikipedia]


Beavers, their engineering skills, and their pelts were extremely important to the colonization of this continent by Europeans, and because of this they became very symbolic, including the national animal of Canada. "Before their near extirpation by trapping in North America, beaver were practically ubiquitous and lived from the arctic tundra to the deserts of northern Mexico. Explorer David Thompson, after crossing much of North America in 1784, stated that 'this Continent...from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, may be said to have been in the possession of two distinct races of Beings, Man and the Beaver' " (from Wikipedia).

"There were an estimated six million beavers in Canada before the start of the fur trade. During its peak, 100,000 pelts were being shipped to Europe each year; the Canadian beaver was in danger of being wiped out. Luckily, about that time, Europeans took a liking to silk hats and the demand for beaver pelts all but disappeared" (from Canadian Heritage).

Obviously God put the beavers here in North America, and made Michigan to look like a beaver, but I'm sure there's more to it.



Part 2




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