Navigating the seaway locks

02Feb11

This graphic was one of a set of graphics used for a 2006 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel special series on the Great Lakes, the region’s shipping industry, the threat of invasive species, the deteriorating quality of water in the lakes and receding water levels.

INTERACTIVE: TURNING BACK THE ASIAN CARP
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A ship traveling from Montreal to a port in Lake Superior has to navigate seven lock chambers in the St. Lawrence River, another set of eight locks through the Welland Canal and a final lock at Sault Ste. Marie. The ascent crosses more than 3,540 km (2,200 miles) to Lake Superior, which sits 183 metres (600 feet) above sea level.

The St. Lawrence Seaway, which opened in 1959, is crucial to the Great Lakes because it is the region’s only outlet to the Atlantic Ocean. Its infractructure consists of dams and dikes, locks channels and bridges. A ship in the St. Lawrence River has to go up seven locks — 68 metres (225 feet) — to get to Lake Ontario.

In navigating its way eastbound into the upper lakes, a ship in the seaway enters a lock chamber where water level is low. The gate behind the ship closes, turning the lock into a watertight chamber. Water level rises in the chamber and slowly lifts the ship. When the rising water in the chamber reaches the level of the next lock, a forward gate opens to let the ship out and into the upper waterway.

Graphic by Alfred Elicierto, published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in November 2006.

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Also in this blog

Tragic end to a bombing raid

Overfishing killed Newfoundland’s cod fishery
Treating gunshot wounds
Turning back the Asian carp
So much water lost in leaky St. Clair River
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One Response to “Navigating the seaway locks”

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