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All About Michigan

The Sault Ste. Marie Canals


The Sault Ste. Marie Canals are two ship canals that bypass the rapids on the St. Marys River (where the water falls 21 feet) between Lake Superior and Lake Huron at the cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Ontario. They are popularly called the Soo Locks. These locks navigate the rise/drop of the water levels so ships can have safe passage.


It takes 22 million gallons of water to lift a boat. The locks are powered by gravity itself! Water moves in and out of the lock chambers by just opening and closing valves. As a boat locks in from Lake Superior, the gates at each end of the locks are closed and a valve is open to let the Lake Superior water already in the lock flow out to the lower water level of the St Mary's Canal and Lakes Huron and Michigan. When the water has dropped to the lower level, the lock gate at the south end is opened and the boat proceeds out of the locks into the St Mary's Canal. The north gate remains closed, holding back the waters of Lake Superior. When a boat locks in from the St. Mary's Canal at the lower level of Lakes Huron and Michigan, the gates at both ends are closed and the filling valve at the north end is opened to permit the Lake Superior water to flow into the lock. When the water in the lock has risen to that of Lake Superior, the lock gate at the north end is opened and the boat locks out into Lake Superior...


Read more about the Sault Ste Marie canals in today's All About Michigan!


Click HERE to download this activity as a printable PDF.

#Michigan #SaultSteMarie #canals #locks #boats

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