Lake Superior Articles

Lake Superior's Natural Processes
The lake has a significant impact on patterns. There are also several interesting physical processes that take place in the lake.
Superior Facts: Facts About the Greatest Great Lake
Whether you visit Minnesota's North Shore or live there year-round, Lake Superior is a constant source of wonder.
A Hard Day's (and Night's) Work Aboard the R/V Blue Heron
Photos show what sort of instruments and people are working day and night to bring Superior science to you.
Flood Response: Lake Superior's Dark Surprise
The anticipated algal bloom following a 500-year flood didn't happen. Find out why.
What Good is a Diatom
These tiny particles have inspired everyone from Victorian microscopists to Lake Superior researchers. Read how diatoms are helping paint the picture of Lake Superior history today.
Rip Currents: Escape the Grip of the Rip!
About rip currents on the Great Lakes and what you need to know to enjoy the beach safely
Lake Superior's Physical Characteristics
Despite Lake Superior’s massive size, it only manages to support a limited amount of aquatic life.
Lake Superior's Chemical Imbalance? Element Cycles and Ultra-oligotrophy
Learn about Lake Superior's unusual nitrate trend and why this ultra-cold Great Lake might not be ultra-oligotrophic.
Winds Blew "Whale Burps" onto Superior's Shore
Winter winds whipping around Duluth and Lake Superior can produce more than snowdrifts. They can also produce "whale burps." Also known as surf balls, these oval or round bundles of fibrous material periodically show up on coastlines throughout the world.
Mud Management: The Island and the Superfund Site
Moving sediment in the St. Louis River became a lesson in cooperative remediation.
Whales in Lake Superior?
No. There are no whales in Lake Superior, big or small.
Scientists Challenged by Lake Superior and Each Other
The Ecology of Lake Superior Conference demonstrated participants' interest in integrated science and adaptive management and drew applause for recovery efforts that have brought back the lake trout populations after near extirpation less than 60 years ago.
Lake Superior Water Levels
In 2007, Lake Superior was at a near-record low for its water level.
Mapping the Great Lakes: The GLOS Mapping Workshops
New workshops by the Great Lakes Observing System offer useful ways to integrate data for decision-making when planning events (like kayak and fishing trips) on Lake Superior.
How Didymo Became Rock Snot
From New Zealand to North America, the single-celled silica-shelled didymo is reviled as "rock snot", and aquatic ecologists speculate that a subtle change in the algae's behavior has taken place allowing the species' range expansion. Read about the paradox didymo presents aquatic ecologists.
Mix-up over Lake Superior's Mixing
For years, Lake Superior was thought to be monomictic—going through just one cycle of mixing or thermal stratification per year. Data in recent years is proving it to be dimictic (mixing through two annual cycles), though textbooks and websites are slow to catch up.
Climate and Lake Superior's Crunchy Creatures
Copepods, the animals that dominate Lake Superior's zooplankton scene and look like food to many fish species, respond to wind and water temperatures.
What's a seiche?
A seiche, besides being the name Minnesota Sea Grant's newsletter, is a little-known phenomenon that occurs in all water bodies but is more noticeable within large lakes.
Pulp Mill Effluent and Fish Don't Mix (Well)
Endocrine disrupting chemicals found in pulp mill wastewater can impact fish. Five scientists discuss what they learned from Canadian and U.S. rivers surrounding Lake Superior.
Lake Superior Feels the Heat: Climate Change Discussed at Conference
Summer temperatures like Kansas and winters like Wisconsin are just some changes possibly in store for Minnesota. Read what climate change experts discussed during a recent Lake Superior conference.
Where did all the smelt go?
Fishing for smelt used to be a spring ritual in the 1960s and 70s, enjoyed by many in the region. But now the runs are much smaller.
The Mystery of the Missing Smelt
Many factors have been playing into the fluctuation of the smelt population.
Making a Great Lake Superior
Read about what happened at the "Making a Great Lake Superior 2007" Conference, which was held in Duluth this fall.
Superior Science News Debuts
We've teamed up with KUWS Radio to produce programs about Lake Superior Science.
Low Lake Superior Water Levels
Why is Lake Superior's water level so low and what does it mean for the environment and economy?
Lake Superior Studies Point Out Problems With Using E. coli as an Indicator of Beach Contamination
The bacteria used to justify beach closings don't always come from the feces of warm-blooded animals. Populations of E. coli can also exist el natural … living freely on aquatic plants and in the sand.
What produced the light we saw glowing over, on, and in Lake Superior in October 2006?
"It was as if a small town was floating on Lake Superior," witnesses said.
Lake Superior Holds Onto Her Dead ... and Her Toxaphene
Researchers have found that Lake Superior's combination of cold water and bacteria allow it to hold onto toxins.
Unsolved Mystery: Lake Superior’s Missing Carbon
Experts are baffled about where huge amounts (possibly half) of organic carbon in Lake Superior come from and are working to discover the sources.
New Zealand Mudsnails Found in Duluth-Superior Harbor
Egad! Tiny cloning snails are the newest invader in the Twin Ports.
Ice Cover Lacking on Lake
Find out how ice cover influences evaporation, supports fisheries, and produces astonishing ice volcanoes.
All Plankton Great and Small
Lake Superior's zooplankton community has changed in the last 30 years and the lake's exceedingly small plankton is unique among the Great Lakes.
What Happened to the Taconite Tailings?
The tailings deposited into Lake Superior prior to 1980 are still there. Learn How contentious litigation changed tailing disposal practices.
Listening to the Lake Airs on KUMD Radio
Tune into Lake Superior science stories on summer mornings or access them anytime on the Web.
Minnesota Sea Grant Awards $566,650 for Aquatic Research
We're funding eight new research projects. Find out what the researchers plan to achieve.
In a Pickle: The Mystery of the North Shore’s Salty Well Water
How could brine more salty than the sea's come through spigots just yards away from Lake Superior? No definitive answer, but some experts have a pretty good idea.
Harbor Corrosion Report Available
A PDF file documents what we know about accelerated corrosion observed in the Duluth-Superior Harbor.
Lake Superior Workshop Proceedings Available
The proceedings of the Lake Superior Restoration and Protection Workshop held in Duluth during the summer of 2004 are available from the Great Lakes Commission's Web Site.
Harbor Corrosion: It’s the Pits
The rapid aging of steel in the Duluth Superior Harbor puzzles even corrosion experts. Five specialists offer observations and advice to port officials, university and agency staff, and Sea Grant.
The Case of the Watery Grave
Each July a blanket of dying algae forms 30 meters below the surface of Lake Superior. Find out why in this book excerpt.
Watch for Nets!
Know how to identify and avoid commercial fishing nets in Minnesota's Lake Superior through this new brochure.
Gaining A Superior Perspective
Participants in "A View from the Lake" got more than a view from the lake. Roughly 500 people learned about water quality, land use, and Lake Superior from the deck of the L.L Smith, Jr. this summer.
Citizens Identify Priorities for Lake Superior Restoration
Restoring and protecting habitats and coastal wetlands to enhance fish and wildlife, and creating opportunities for coastal communities to adopt sustainable use practices were top Lake Superior priorities during a workshop in Duluth.
UMD Professor to Chair Great Lakes Commission
Minnesota state Rep. Thomas Huntley (DFL-Duluth) has been elected chair of the Great Lakes Commission, a binational agency representing the region's U.S. states and Canadian provinces on matters related to the health, protection and sustainable use of the Great Lakes.
Bacteria on the Beach
Occasional problems were found with bacteria on Lake Superior beaches last summer and a team of Sea Grant-funded researchers is helping pinpoint potential sources of elevated bacteria levels.
Rip Currents Hit Home
Sea Grant is working nationally and on a Great Lakes level to inform people how to escape deadly rip currents, which caused a death in Lake Superior last summer.
Great Lakes Ecological Change Detectives
In light of the importance of coastal ecosystems, 27 investigators and an army of assistants have been collecting, measuring, analyzing and digitizing conditions of the U.S. Great Lakes coastline for the Great Lakes Environmental Indicator (GLEI) project.
Hooked on Coasters
People around Lake Superior are getting hooked on remembering a unique fish – the coaster brook trout. Sea Grant and other organizations are working to restore brook trout populations in the big lake.
Graduate Research Advances Lake Superior Science
We are providing more than $527,000 over the next two years to fund research by graduate students through the University of Minnesota.
Never-ending Motion: Lake Superior’s Wetlands
The coastal wetlands of Lake Superior provide critical habitat for species that drive the system's food web. Find out what Janet Keough, acting director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Mid-continent Research Division has to say about wetlands.
Community Concerns Explored Along North Shore
Land, jobs, age, and health — over 100 people spent a day discussing Minnesota's coastal community. Review some of the statistics and issues presented at the 7th annual State of the Coast conference.
Minnesota Sea Grant Awards $678,500 for Aquatic Research
We recently funded nine new research projects involving Lake Superior and Minnesota's inland lakes.
Lake Superior’s Deep-Water Donut Mystery
Huge rings lie in the deepest regions on the floor of Lake Superior. Scientists at the University of Minnesota and in the United Kingdom are looking into how they were formed.
What You Can Do to Help Lake Superior
Three natural resource managers from around Lake Superior describe the challenges they face and explain how you can help protect the lake's environment. A photo album of images from Isle Royale, Tettegouche State Park, and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is included.
“Sensing” Duluth Streams
Four of Duluth's 42 streams will soon flow past your computer on their way to Lake Superior. A project is underway to monitor the water quality of the streams, and to deliver information through a Web site and interactive kiosks.
Dangerous Breaking Waves
Boaters should watch out for unusual wave activity at harbor entrances due to the relatively low water levels in Lake Superior and Lake Michigan.
Lake Superior’s Native Lampreys
Lake Superior's native lampreys aren't bad, they're just ugly. Learn about three secretive lamprey species that have lived in the lake's tributaries for thousands of years.
Cousteau Speaks for Sweetwater Seas
Jean-Michel Cousteau praised Duluth's waterfront and advocated for the preservation of both freshwater and saltwater ecosystems when he spoke in Duluth last fall.
Odd Jobs
Three graduate students give us a glimpse of the unusual things they sometimes do in the name of science for their Lake Superior-related research projects.

This page last modified on February 27, 2014     © 1996 – 2014 Regents of the University of Minnesota     The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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