Michigan is Home to 3 of the 5 Strangest Lakes in the United States
It makes sense that at least ONE of the strangest lakes in the United States would be in Michigan. We have Four of the Five largest freshwater lakes in the country, and still, an infinite amount of inland lakes that offer unique attributes from anywhere else in the country.
But the fact that THREE of the five strangest lakes in the country are connected with Michigan is wild. It just confirms there's no place like Michigan.
First, the two strangest lakes in the country that AREN'T in Michigan, we start with Mono Lake in California. It sits halfway up the state, near the Nevada border, and has no outlet. It has a pH level of 10, whereas the ocean's pH level sits right around 8.1. Meaning, that Mono Lake has a higher salinity (salt concentration) than the ocean. In fact, it's SO salty, no fish can survive in it, only a very small species of brine shrimp and microbes.
The other lake is Crater Lake in Oregon. It was formed by a volcanic eruption 7,700 years ago. It is the deepest lake in the country, and 9th deepest in the world at 1,943 feet. For reference, Lake Superior is only 1,332 feet deep. It has no outlet, but since its only "inlet" is snow and rain, the water remains clear and fresh.
So now we come to the three strangest lakes in the country that are associated with Michigan, and it should come as no surprise that all three of them are part of the Great Lakes chain.
The shallowest of Great Lakes is interesting for a couple reasons - one that's for real, and another that's a little more mythical.
Lake Erie is allegedly home to Bessie, the American version of "Nessie" from Loch Ness in Scotland. Bessie is believed to be a similarly-sized creature that got stuck in the Lake as the ancient oceans receded, and formed enclosed lakes under the ice during the ice age. Bessie is believed to not only have survived this, but continues to thrive and live in the lake.
That's the more mythical reason why this lake is strange, but in reality, it has one of the most unique occurences of any major lake in the world - a seiche. Lake Erie is perfectly aligned west to east that strong winds can carry across the entirety of the lake, and cause a "bathtub" effect on the lake, essentially sloshing all of the water to one end of the lake, and then sloshing BACK the other direction. And with most winds blowing west to east, Buffalo, NY (who is at the furthest east of the lake) typically sees the worst of these seche's.
This is the ONLY Great Lake to be contained entirely inside the United States. Situated alongside Michigan, as well as Wisconsin, and norther tips of Illinois and Indiana, Lake Michigan's only inlet, and outlet are in the same space.
All water inflow, and outflow of Lake Michigan happens at the Mackinac Straits into Lake Huron. It is believed that this strange water transfer creates an odd undercurrent in the lake that can be attributed to a "Bermuda Triangle" effect that has claimed countless ships and lives.
This is the second largest of the Great Lakes, behind Lake Superior, and for the most part, it's pretty typical of a great lake.. it's big and full of fresh water. But it's strange that the water is SO fresh in Lake Huron, since underneath it, is one of the largest salt mines in the world.
In fact, the Goderich salt mine is the LARGEST underground salt mine in the world, at 1,800 feet below the lake, meaning it's nearly 2,600 feet below the surface of Lake Huron.
Add to that, roughly 60 feet below the surface are high concentrations of sulfur with low oxygen levels that create their own special ecosystems underground. With all of these elements around such a large lake, it's very strange that the water maintains it's "freshwater" status.
Strange Creatures of the Great Lakes
Gallery Credit: Wikipedia