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Drain the Great Lakes

About "Drain the Great Lakes"
Still Waters Run Deep - and Fascinating
The Great Lakes are the largest fresh water system on Earth, containing roughly 20 per cent of the world's supply - only the polar ice caps hold more. Now, for the first time, Discovery Channel reveals the extraordinary world beneath the surface in DRAIN THE GREAT LAKES, an original Canadian special premiering Sunday, December 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. In captivating CGI, this one-hour special reveals Niagara Falls in a different location, plus the unseen topography of the lake beds. See what the Great Lakes depths' conceal, as if the water has simply been drained away, showing the shape, size and detail of underwater features, both natural and man-made.

These Lakes are remarkable, and tell the story of our planet. They contain enough water to cover the entire surface of the continental United States to a depth of 2.7 meters. Over 37 million people live by their shores in some of the greatest cities in the world. DRAIN THE GREAT LAKES pulls a virtual plug on these huge lakes - and using computer-generated imagery, cutting-edge scientific survey equipment and technology, expert testimony, and state-of-the-art computer animation - exposes the hidden secrets of our human history and geological past.

The two-hour special reveals the differing underwater characteristics of each of the Great Lakes - Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario - and also the most spectacular waterfall in North America, Niagara Falls. DRAIN THE GREAT LAKES highlights the specific and unique circumstances of each Lake's creation, laying bare geographical features and manmade objects impossible to see from the surface. Then the special goes further - not just telling the story of the feature and seeing it underwater; advanced filmmaking techniques "remove" the water to showcase each element in all its glory.

DRAIN THE GREAT LAKES is packed with stunning photography and "water cooler-worthy" facts and stats, including:

  • It can take more than 300 years for a single drop of water to make it through the Lakes from Lake Superior to the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, including going over Niagara Falls.

  • One Lake harbours a submerged waterfall, revealing water levels as they were over 7,000 years ago.

  • Another Lake hides an enormous trans-lake ridge where researchers are currently finding evidence of the presence of early man.

  • Is a bizarre crater, discovered only recently, the result of a meteorite crashing to Earth millions of years ago?


  • DRAIN THE GREAT LAKES explores some of the most impressive shipwrecks in the world - perfectly preserved in the Lakes' cold water - among them the most iconic of them all, the Edmund Fitzgerald.

  • The special also investigates the impact of the latest and most controversial species to invade the Great Lakes: mussels. See how they've changed the entire eco-system of the Lakes within a mere two decades.


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