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Lake Saint Clair (North America)

Lake Saint Clair (North America)
Lake information
NameLake St. Clair
Location(Great Lakes)
Lake typeFreshwater Lake
Primary inflowsSt. Clair River, Thames River, Sydenham River, Clinton River
Primary outflowsDetroit River
Basin countriesCanada, United States
Max. length26 mi (41.8 km)
Max. width24 mi (38.6 km)
Surface area430 sqmi (1113.7 km2)
Average depth11 ft (3.4 m)
Max. depth27 ft (8.2 m)
Water volume0.82 c�mi (0.2 km3)
Residence time7 days (2-30 days)
Shore length169 mi (272 km)
Surface elevation574 ft (175 m)
Islands in lakesGull Island

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Lake St. Clair (French: Lac Sainte-Claire) is a fresh-water lake named after Clare of Assisi that lies between the Province of Ontario and the State of Michigan, and its midline also forms the boundary between Canada and the United States of America. Lake St. Clair includes the Anchor Bay along the Metro Detroit coastline. This lake is situated about 6.0 mi (9.7 km) northeast of Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario. With about 430 sqmi (1113.7 km2) of water area, this lake is part of the Great Lakes System. It links the Great Lakes system, but is rarely included in the listings of the Great Lakes. There are ongoing proposals for its official recognition as a Great Lake, which would affect its inclusion in scientific research projects, etc., designated as being for "The Great Lakes". Along with the St. Clair River and Detroit River, Lake St. Clair connects Lake Huron (to its north) with Lake Erie (to its south).

Lake Saint Clair is about 26 mi (41.8 km) from north to south and about 24 mi (38.6 km) from east to west. This is a rather shallow lake for its size with an average depth of about 11 ft (3.4 m), and a maximum natural depth of 21.3 ft (6.5 m). However, it is 27 ft (8.2 m) deep in the navigation channel which has been dredged for lake freighter passage. Lake Saint Clair is fed with fresh water flowing out of Lake Huron to its north via the St. Clair River, which has an extensive river delta, the largest one within the Great Lakes System. Also, the Thames River and Sydenham River flow into Lake Saint Clair from Southwestern Ontario, and the Clinton River flows into it from Michigan. The outflow from Lake Saint Clair flows from its southwestern end into the Detroit River, and thence into Lake Erie.

The tarry time (i.e the time between entering and leaving) of the water in Lake St. Clair averages about seven days, but this can vary from as little as two to as many as thirty days, depending on the direction of the winds, the water circulation patterns, and the seasonal amount of water that is flowing out of Lake Huron. If the water flows through the navigation channel, which is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the time the water remains in the lake is about two days.

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