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Animations of Great Lakes Bathymetry


new Flying and Diving Tour of the Straits of Mackinac new
screen shot of Straits of Mackinac movie in Quicktime
Choose: 5.1mbyte .mov or 147.3mbyte .mov

The Straits of Mackinac is a narrow passage connecting Lake Michigan to Lake Huron, as well as dividing the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of the state of Michigan. Scoured from the landscape by ancient glaciation and continuing water exchange between the two connected lakes, the Straits contains a deep, sinuous channel with a water depth of as much as 70 meters (230 feet). Currents in the channel range up to nearly 2000 cubic meters per second and are driven by lake-level oscillations due to weather changes, runoff, and even the lunar tide. The video clip contains a down-looking flyover to show the shape of the channel, then a submerged tour through this inland underwater canyon. Vertical scale is somewhat exaggerated for effect.


Taking the Wild Ride Around Lakes Superior and Michigan
screen shot of animated wild ride video

MPEG movie from Duluth to Chicago only
MPEG over Lakes Superior & Michigan | 8mbyte animated GIF version
Quicktime animations: 8-bit color 5.8mbyte silent movie | 24-bit color 28mbyte movie with sound

see where the wild ride goes (GIF)

The rapid low-altitude aerial tour begins over the western arm of Lake superior, proceeding eastward down the central axis of the lake, making a leftward loop around Isle Royal. The flight path continues eastward to the Straits of Mackinac, cutting across the eastern tip of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and into the northern end of Lake Michigan. Proceeding south-southwest down the center of the lake, the flight makes a hard right turn over Chicago and heads up the west coast to Milwaukee, where it again heads over water until there is a leftward loop over Green Bay and the Door Peninsula. Returning to Lake Superior via the Straits of Mackinac, the tour skims the southern shore westward across the Keweenaw Peninsula to Duluth, where a right turn takes the tour back to its starting point.

In both the .mpg and animated .gif version of the "Wild Ride" the lake floor is depicted in green with relief shown in shades of grey, exagerated to emphasize lake floor features. Water has been removed for a better view, and the "plane" banks during turns for a dramatic "flight."

Imagery by Dr. Peter Sloss (retired) of NGDC.

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