The Great Lakes

The Great Lakes
  • Credit:

    Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

The North American Great Lakes are featured in this true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from September 16, 2002. Bridging the boundary between Canada (top) and the United States (bottom)m these large freshwater lakes took on their current size and shape during the final advance-retreat cycle of the Pleistocene ice age. What the advancing glaciers carved out, melting glaciers filled in, leaving (left to right) Lake Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie (partially cloud covered, and Ontario.

Several large cities can be seen in the image, including Minneapolis-St. Paul at left center edge, Chicago at the southern tip of Lake Michigan, and Detroit between Erie and Huron. Flowing past Minneapolis and toward the bottom of the image is the Mississippi River.

Images & Animations


File Dimensions

  • 1250x1050
  • JPEG 322 KB
  • 2500x2100
  • JPEG 1 MB
  • 5000x4200
  • JPEG 3 MB

Note: Often times, due to the size, browsers have a difficult time opening and displaying images. If you experiece an error when clicking on an image link, please try directly downloading the image (using a right click, save as method) to view it locally.


  • Data Date:

    September 16, 2002
  • Visualization Date:

    October 10, 2002
  • Sensor(s):

    Terra - MODIS


NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration