Jul 18-03

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2003: July: Jul 18-03
Skipping Stones    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Tom Kerby
Collecting gems    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Tom Kerby

Charlie at Pasty Central on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 08:27 am:

As the All School Reunion continues in Calumet, I'm sure many of the alumni and their families are finding time to slip away for a walk by Superior. Perhaps tomorrow we'll have some pictures from the reunion to give you an update.

You can find more adventures of Tom Kerby's family from Colorado in our Guest Gallery.

By Dave M., Lansing on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 08:27 am:

I've been telling my kids for years, don't throw too many rocks into the lake or you're gonna fill it up! 8-D

By Mr. Wheatman, South end on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 10:16 am:

Aah, perhaps it could be the "modus operandi" for restoring moribund lake levels through the principle of displaced volume indeed. Kudos to the children for their efforts with each lake visit.


By Alice, Ventura, CA on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 11:16 am:

Hey Dave M., Lansing--Those rocks would probably bring up the level of the water, wouldn't it? I don't know that the big one needs it, but I hear a lot of the lakes are down. :)

Whoops, I now see that Wheatman just addressed the issue!

By danbury; germany on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 11:46 am:

Read about low levels for a while now. What's the matter? Climate phenomenon? Golf in the desert?

By Skipping stones= Water level rise? on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 11:56 am:

I took this from the Eagle Harbor website in case this is of interest....

We all know it's a big lake. With a surface area
of about 31,700 square miles, it exceeds the combined size of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut. There is enough water in the lake, over 3200 billion gallons, to supply the freshwater needs of the 30 million residents in the lake's adjacent states and province for over three years. But how much new water does all the snow and rain add to the lake each year, and if over a period of several years the lake level is stable, as it is, where does all the new water go? Is all this new water flowing through the lake why the lake is so nice and clean? A Web search provided some surprises.

About 60% of the annual inflow to the lake is rain and snow falling directly on its surface, the remaining 40% is runoff from the land areas draining into the lake. Compared to most lakes, the percentage of total inflow representd by drainage from adjacent lands is quite low. The total inflow, which averages about 28 billion gallons a year, would raise the lake level about 4.2 feet or 50 inches....about 2.5 feet due to precipitation on the surface and 1.7 feet from runoff.

It's interesting to note that the annual inflow is less than 1% of the lake's water volume. It takes about 185 years for the lake to flush itself out. The quality of the lake's water is therefore little impacted by the quantity of the new water, but because pollution flushed in takes so long to flush out, the lake is extremely sensitive to pollution sources in the lake's relatively small drainage basin. Pollution sources such as the the stamp mill deposits still so evident in our area, the taconite tailing dumping along the Minnesota north shore a decade or two ago, or the current discharges from wood pulp mills and growing population areas around the lake, have long lasting and accumulative impact. In addition, the dominating winds of the lake are southwesterly in summer and northwest in winter, placing the lake downwind of the agricultural areas in the upper Midwestern United States and the prairie regions of Canada...a source of airborne pesticides. The lake has difficulty keeping itself clean...it's up to us to do the job!

So what happens to the 28 billion gallons of water added to the lake in an average year? Not surprisingly, most of it, about 64% , almost two-thirds,or about 18 billion gallons, is discharged into the lower Great Lakes through the sluices and rapids at the Sault. The rate of that discharge is regulated by the International Lake Superior Board of Control and is intended to mitigate high water shoreline damage on Lake Superior and downstream Great Lakes. Lake Superior levels are dropped during the fall and early winter, creating space to hold the snow pack melt and spring and early summer rain storms. Our highest water levels are generally in late summer and early fall.

What is surprising, is the large amount of the annual inflow that disappears through evaporation...about 36%, a little more than a third, or about 10 billion gallons. My guess is that this is due to the large surface area of the lake and the relatively dry air moving across its surface from the mid-continent of North America. In fact, over the western half of the lake, including the portion of the lake around Eagle Harbor, the evaporation is equal to or exceeds the the amount of inflow due to rain and snow falling into the lake (59% of total inflow). The eastern end of the lake usually receives more annual precipitation than the west half and by the time prevailing winds arrive there, they are less dry.

So, of the about 4.2 feet or 28 billion gallons of new water added to the lake in an average year, about 2,7 feet is discharged into the lower lakes, and the remaining 1.5 feet returned to the sky above through evaporation. The long term impact on lake level is nill, and the quantity of new water, less than 1% of the lake's total water volume, has negligible affect on the lake's water quality.

(The primary information source for this article is an academic paper modeling the deposition of a pesticide into and out of the Great Lakes based on data obtained from Eagle Harbor and Sleeping Bear Dunes...authored by J. Christensen, J. Kennedy and K. Kotimko. Your Eagle Harbor Web editor takes full responsibility for interpretation of data and calculations. The Lake Superior map can be purchased from Lake Superior Magazine.)


By Thrown in a few Myself on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 12:34 pm:

Would the lake level raise then, if perhaps, we added a few more Great Lakes ore carrier ships too? Indeed, one ship would displace much more than 1000 kids skipping hundreds of those great flat skippers.

By Tom Wells, NW Indiana on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 02:53 pm:

The following website page shows how relatively small the great lakes' watershed is:

It is especially small in NorthWest Indiana where the Valparaiso Moraine is so close to the lake (~10 miles). The other side of the moraine flows into the Kankakee valley which eventually flows down the Mississippi.

The watershed in the Chicago area was reversed to flow down the Illinois Mississippi river over one hundred years ago:

By Troll in Eagle Harbor on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 04:56 pm:

What is it about throwing rocks into water?Even at my advanced middle age,I still love to throw rocks in and skip stones across the surface.

By Pasty Surfer on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 05:38 pm:

Funny how a small comment about skipping stones can turn into a major discussion...

I came accross this posting a few pics back. I thought I was the only one feeling the PC edge here at the Pasty Cam...

By Eino Notaffended & Toivo Itsalright on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 05:29 pm:

When I mentioned Eino and Toivo stories I never said "jokes"...I was just looking for some funny "stories"...not ethnic jokes. holly crap!

I have seen so much environmentalist, politics etc being posted I thought maybe some humorous stories from the UP would lighten things up. Was I wrong or what!? (just look at some of the postings above).

Connie from Colorado - A big thank you for the Porky press web site. The Eino and Tovio "stories" are great and humerous, reminds me of the fantastic stories "real yoopers" told years ago...they had a flare for telling "stories" not "jokes" and were/are not afraid to shed humor in a "politically correct" obsessed world.

Thanks to all for telling the others "to chill" the comments postings are starting to take a politically correct, environmentalist edge and seems to be a sounding board for change. I don't like that here at the "P-Cam"...I get enough of that each day via the mass media.

Did I ever tell yah about the time Eino and Toivo went to...

By Jason Stott, Oregon on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 07:38 pm:

AMEN Surfer, Eino & Toivo!

By ILMHitCC on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 09:16 pm:

Thank you, 'skipping stones=...', for the interestings facts about my favorite body of water! I appreciate the info and your typing time. It'd take me all day to do all that! Don't know what 'discussion' surfer dude's talking about. Must've missed that. W-a-a-a-a-a-y back in school, well at least since using paper instead of little blackboards, I did a report on the geology and life cycle of Lake Superior. Since then I've always been in awe of the big numbers it calls up. Way cool!
Dave M. - my dad used to tell us the same thing. :) Imagine my surprise at meeting so many poor souls in this land that have never skipped rocks! Hard to imagine, eh!

By Pat L. Mich. on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 09:58 pm:

I recently talked with a fellow from Grand Rapids, Mich. He said, "There are no Dutch jokes. They are all true." We all need a sense of humor.!

By Pat L. Mich. on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 10:00 pm:

I recently talked with a fellow from Grand Rapids, Mich. He said, "There are no Dutch jokes. They are all true." We all need a sense of humor!

By Steve the flying troll on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 10:49 pm:

Aura this weekend............If you see a very tall nice looking man with matching sister playing accordians at 7:00 pm on Saturday, say hello to Don Reinholm and tell him Tuttle says "Hey". These are quality folks. (Like almost everybody on Pastycam)

By Mary Ann, WY on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 11:31 pm:

I really enjoyed your slide show, and I am sure I will watch it again. Brings back good memories of summer in the UP. One of these days I hope to be living near water again. I was just visiting the web site for Mackinac Island the other day and thinking of summers in the UP. I also check the Eagle Harbor web cam everyday to see what the weather is like back in that area.

By Madilyn, MI on Saturday, July 19, 2003 - 12:21 am:

My Grandma and Papa are ready to make bean soup for the Aura Jamboree on Saturday! If you want to hear good music and have good food, come on over! Make sure that you say "Hi!" to my Grandma and Papa, and get some bean soup! They'll hope to see you there!

Madilyn Galbraith
(and Amanda!)

By Kevin K. Lodi, Ca on Saturday, July 19, 2003 - 12:32 am:

What a timeless photo! I have pictures of my Dad and I many moons ago standing by the Big lake skipping stones. Brings back fond memories.

By Brian, IL. on Saturday, July 19, 2003 - 02:08 am:

I don't want to be reminded how I am losing what I cherish. Lighten up. Solve it after I am dead. (Just kidding!)

By John-Canton on Saturday, July 19, 2003 - 09:25 pm:

As with most enviromental issues balance is the key. Without control history had shown us that
some companies would poisen the water to enhance
thier bottom line. However the materials and jobs
are much needed and cannot be lost.
Love the pics. Cant wait to skip a few rocks
at Agate Beach in Oct.

By Curt B phoenix az on Sunday, July 20, 2003 - 01:42 am:

Can we all Thank the web folks and Pasty.com for giving us these great photo albums and the chance to share a little bit of our lives with each other and the rest of the world as well.
Thanks again!!!!!!!!!!
Curt Bellfy
Phoenix az

By danbury; germany on Sunday, July 20, 2003 - 04:24 am:

Interesting, that piece about the waterdynamics. thanks for that one.
Anyway, I don't know about environmentalism and massmedia - not my idea of environmentalism to go hysterics to raise quotas.
And while I think it my simple responsibility to be aware of my environment, that's something completely different as the anthropocentric creation of pc, my view of wich does not belong here.
Lighten up? Always.
Enjoyed the link to that magazine with the eino/toivo story, by the way. Never heard of these before, though, but still :-)

By Brian, IL. on Sunday, July 20, 2003 - 10:52 am:

I am thankfull for the pictures. I am sorry to be politically incorrect. Now the Montreal Protocol is under attack. Things will be lightening up quite a bit.

By danbury, germany on Wednesday, July 23, 2003 - 02:57 pm:

Brian, why?
After all, since I have no direct experiences with p. c., I'm not quite sure - but I'd rather be honest (and humorous).
That thing does'nt sound like a virtue to me.
(No, I'm not talking 'bout respect, politeness, common sense ... ok, time to lighten up again).

By Herb Nikula UP Michigan on Sunday, October 26, 2003 - 04:33 pm:

Bessemer now Kimball WI then . Maybe many people don't know that the shore Of Lake Superior is an ideal place to find flattish stones to skip on the water, not just 'rocks' as some say they are. So between looking for beautiful stones and skipping stones I have spent many delightful hours enjoying the many delights of the shore. 82 years of precious memories.

By Ken ja Mimi from da UP on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 11:37 pm:

Where is the What's UP section? Must be the heat, 'eh?

By Ken from da UP on Monday, July 18, 2005 - 11:39 pm:

OK, I'm awake now. The heat must be getting to ME. :>)

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