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Water resources of the Lake Superior watershed, northeastern Minnesota

Hydrologic Atlas 582

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Abstract

The Lake Superior watershed is mostly a highland, generally 1,200 feet (366 meters) to 2,000 feet (610 meters) above mean sea level. It extends from Duluth to the Canadian border.

Both maximum and minimum altitudes for Minnesota occur in the watershed; 2.301 ft (701 ) at Eagle Mountain, about 12 mi (19 km) northwest of Grand Marais, and 602 ft (184 m), the normal level of Lake Superior. Total relief is nearly 1,700 ft (518 m). The North Shore area (Duluth to the Canadian border) has a southeastward slope that is especially precipitous adjacent to Lake Superior.

Conforming to this topography, the drainage includes a series of 17 southeastward-flowing streams averaging 23 mi (36 km) in length, with an average gradient from headwaters to mouth of about 57 ft/mi (10.8 m/km). The streams are deeply entrenched and characterized by swift flows, many rapids and waterfalls, and especially steep gradients in the 3 to 5 mi (4.8 to 8.0 km) before entering Lake Superior.

The Pigeon River drains the extreme northern part of the watershed and forms the international border between the United States and Canada. More than half of the 610 mi2 (1580 km2) drainage basin of the Pigeon River lies in Canada.

The Nemadji River and tributaries drain the Nemadji Basin, the southern detached part of the watershed. Topographically, the Nemadji Basin is roughly spoon shaped with maximum total relief in Minnesota of about 800 ft (244 m). More than half of the approximately 55-mi (88-km) long river flows northeastward through Wisconsin before reaching Lake Superior.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Water resources of the Lake Superior watershed, northeastern Minnesota
Series title:
Hydrologic Atlas
Series number:
582
Year Published:
1978
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Minnesota Water Science Center
Description:
2 Plates: 58.00 x 41.96 inches
Country:
United States
State:
Minnesota
Other Geospatial:
Lake Superior watershed
Scale:
500000
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files (Y/N):
N