by Bill Redekop
By comparison, Today's great lakes are puny. But not so long ago, in North America's heartland, there was a lake that could have swallowed all five Great Lakes with room to spare. It's called Lake Agassiz and it may be the largest lake the world has ever known.
Born of the melting sheets of ice that had covered Canada and the northern U.S. for millennia, Lake Agassiz was a force of nature for 6,000 years. Its story is one of superlatives: Inconceivable tsunamis that bored through solid rock, colossal outpourings that created a mini-ice age in Europe, tributary torrents that gouged huge valleys and created a delta larger than Prince Edward Island, and a enormous watershed that redistributed species from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico. Yet most of us know little about it.
Bill Redekop's Lake Agassiz: The Rise and Demise of the World's Greatest Lake will change all that. Enthralling, enlighting and often amusing, it tells the story of the huge phantom lake from its discovery by American and Canadian geologists in the late 19th century, through the contentious tracing of its ever-shifting shorelines and its enormous impact on the North American terrain and the global climate to the way we live now.