I was born and raised in West Michigan but never really thought about this until recently: who's to say Lake Michigan and Lake Huron aren't technically just one giant lake? Think about it-- if it weren't for the Mackinac Bridge there would be no physical divider between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, so why are they considered two different lakes?

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Technically Speaking

If you want to get really technical about it, both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are considered one lake. Hydrology is the study of water and its movement, and when you study the composition of the two Great Lakes they're nearly identical! According to the Watershed Council, "Since Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are connected by the Straits of Mackinac, they are considered one lake hydrologically."

To take this one step further, the two lakes are often referred to as Lake Michigan-Huron in some scientific and hydrological contexts. Can you imagine if "Lake Michigan-Huron" was how we referred to it in every day life? How bizarre!

One expert says, "Lakes Huron and Michigan are the only two of the Laurentian Great Lakes that can legitimately be described as in fact being one. All the other Great Lakes are connected by actual rivers that flow from a lake of higher elevation to a lake of lower elevation." However, that is not the case with Lake Michigan-Huron as there is no change in elevation levels.

Culturally Speaking

Though they may technically be the same lake we Michiganders would never refer to them as such. The Great Lakes are a large part of our state's identity as a whole, but you'll also find the lakes are part of our regional identity. Much like people, each of the Great Lakes is different! Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes and is chilly, Lake Ontario is in Canada, Lake Erie is relatively small and (sorry not sorry) is associated with poor water quality, Lake Huron has rocky beaches, and Lake Michigan has the dunes.

Ecologically Speaking

If you want to take it a step further you could also say that ecologically Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are two different lakes. Being that they are on different sides of the Straits of Mackinac, each lake has different topography meaning the life forms that inhabit the, "deep or off-shore waters would generally be confined to one or the other of the deep, wide basins that form the two lakes."

Do you consider Lake Michigan and Lake Huron to be two separate lakes?

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