Thursday, January 26, 2012

Amazing prediction for Lake Erie in 1844

Elizabeth (Lockwood) Glass

My wife Linda's great-grandmother, Elizabeth Lockwood, was born at Creeting St. Peter, in Suffolk, England, on January 21, 1842.   She married Daniel Glass on June 18, 1863, in Toronto, Ontario.   At the age of 97, she died on the Glass home farm, just south of the hamlet of Strange, on King Township's 6th Concession.   She was known far and wide as "King's Grand Old Lady"   One of her personal possessions that has survived to this day is a small book, published in London in 1844, entitled THE WORLD AND ITS WONDERS.   It has 15 chapters and each chapter tells of the wonders of special places in the world, in the first half of the 19th century.   Chapter 11 is entitled The Falls of Niagara.   I will tell the story of Niagara Falls, in this chapter, on another occasion in the near future.   On this occasion, I want to reprint the part of Chapter 11 that tells of the incredible, shrinking Lake Erie.   It follows herewith...

"The three higher lakes - Superior, Michigan, and Huron, together cover an extent of fifty-eight thousand square miles, and their average depth is about nine hundred feet.   Erie, which forms the next outlet towards the sea, is much shallower; its mean depth being only one hundred and twenty feet, and this depth has been gradually decreasing; so that it is almost certain, that in the course of years, what is now the basin of the lake will be filled up, presenting, instead of its present broad sheet of water, a fertile alluvial plain, watered by the St. Lawrence and its tributary rivers, which would then connect the lakes between Huron and Ontario by a stream of between two hundred and three hundred miles in length".

It is now almost 170 years since this amazing supposition was made, with no credit of scientific fact.   We all know that Lake Erie is today as it was then.   According to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which has been tracking Lake Erie's levels for over 150 years, water depth has averaged 210 feet and has never fluctuated more than 6 feet in depth in a century and a half.   The most recent figures show that lake Erie has rebounded to at or above average levels.   Moreover, Great Lakes water levels are now controlled my modern man with canals and locks and dams.
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