Curriculum Filter Results

How long does it take water to flow through the Great Lakes basin?

Water that is in a lake does not stay in that lake. Where does the water go? The length of time that it takes for the amount of water in a lake to be completely replaced (enter the lake) is called retention time. Each of the Great Lakes has a different retention time. Construct an appropriate model of the water flow of the Great Lakes learn about retention time and replacement time, and how how Lake Superior affects the dynamics of water flow, retention time and flushing rates for the Great Lakes system.

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How does water move in the Great Lakes basin?

You are familiar with the water cycle. The sun heats the surface of the earth, water evaporates, water vapor rises in the atmosphere cools and condenses, precipitation falls and then water flows in the streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. In this activity you will find out how water moves in the Great Lakes  system.

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How does stratification affect water quality?

Some lakes have water quality problems related to the layering of the lake’s waters, which occurs in the summer months. During the summer, the warm surface layer of water does not mix with the colder bottom layer of water. If a lot of algae has grown in the lake, decay of the dead algae on the lake bottom may use up all of the oxygen in the cold bottom water layer. In the fall, the surface water cools and mixes with the bottom water, resupplying the bottom water with oxygen needed for life. Learn how stratification of lake waters influences water quality and phosphorus affects oxygen levels in lakes.

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How well do you know the Great Lakes?

Many people, including a large portion of those who live close to the Great Lakes, do not a have a basic understanding of the individual characteristics of and the differences between the lakes. Since it is difficult to understand many of the Great Lakes issues, such as global climate change, pollution, and water use without a basic understanding of the lakes, this activity is designed to help visualize the differences in volume, shoreline length, human population distribution, and fish populations of the Great Lakes.

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