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Today, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary celebrates its 16th anniversary as a national marine sanctuary site! Located in northwest Lake Huron, Thunder Bay is adjacent to one of the most treacherous stretches of water within the Great Lakes system, earning it the nickname “Shipwreck Alley.” Fire, ice, collisions and storms have claimed more than 200 vessels in and around Thunder Bay. 

Today, the sanctuary protects one of our nation’s best-preserved and nationally-significant collections of shipwrecks. Plus, many of these wrecks are amazing dive sites! Here, a diver inspects the wreck of D.M. Wilson, which sank in 1894. Happy anniversary, Thunder Bay!

(Photo: David J. Ruck/NOAA)

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It’s been pretty cold out there, and three of the Great Lakes are almost completely frozen over! I put together this GIF of Erie freezing with images from a pair of satellites.

As I was searching for cloudless shots of Erie, I saw some other striking images:

  • Clouds forming over a chilly Lake Superior and streaming south.
  • The snowy swath across the upper Mississippi - it almost looks painted on.
  • Ice forming on Lake Huron.

You can explore all the satellite images here.

Image credit: Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), University of Wisconsin-Madison.