Crater Lake is a deep, super clear freshwater lake found in the South Central region of Oregon. It is the remnant of an ancient volcano called Mount Mazama.
Mount Mazama was a stratovolcano that may have grown to 12,000 feet in elevation. During a volcanic eruption that occurred around 5700 BC, Mount Mazama exploded and the mountain collapsed down into itself and its magma chamber. It lost 2,500 to 3,500 feet of its total height, likely in a day. This violent eruption created 150 times as much ash as Mount St. Helens did in 1980. Layers of the Mount Mazama ash can be found more than 1,000 miles away; as far south as central Nevada, as far north as British Columbia, and as far east as Yellowstone.
The aftermath left a gaping hole in the earth, a caldera that was 4,000 feet deep! While there are no inlets or outlets of fresh water, over the next several hundred years rain and snow would accumulate to gradually fill the caldera to its current depth today.
When you first see Crater Lake, it really is surprising to see just how large it is. At 1,943 feet deep, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the US, 2nd deepest in North America and 9th deepest in the world. When comparing its average depth of 1,148 feet, it is the deepest in the Western Hemisphere and 3rd deepest in the world. Crater Lake is also one of the clearest freshwater lakes in the world with a visability of about 142 feet.
Did you know…
- Crater Lake National Park was established in 1902
- Averages 533 inches of snow per year, over 44 feet!
- One of the clearest freshwater lakes in the world (visability – 142 feet)
- Water temperatures are in the upper 30’s a couple hundred feet down
- Average lake surface temps in the summer are 50 to 58 F
- No fish existed naturally there, until several species were introduced in the early 1900’s. The only ones that live there now are fresh water Kokanee Salmon and Rainbow Trout.
Other Very Notable features…
Wizard Island is a cinder cone in the West end of Crater Lake leftover from an eruption a few hundreds years after the primary eruption. It’s a volcano in a volcano!
The Old Man of the Lake is a tree stump over 30 feet tall that has been floating upright around Crater Lake for over 100 years! It’s earliest known reference comes from 1896. The stump likely slid into the lake in a landslide with rocks in its roots and has been preserved so well due to the very cold, clean water. Get close enough and in the clear water you can see all 30 feet of the old man!
Phantom Ship is made up of volcanic ejecta and named because it resembles a ghostly ship in the lake.
National Park Week April 21st – April 29th
Free admission to national parks is available through the 29th for National Park Week. You can also enter to win a commemorative Camp Chef National Park Package!
To celebrate National Park Week and the coming camping season, we’re having a contest that ends April 29th. Three lucky winners will each receive a great cast iron set that pays homage to our country’s great National Park heritage.
The commemorative Camp Chef National Park Package includes a 12” Dutch Oven (Yellowstone), 12” Skillet (Arches) and lid, 14” Dutch Oven Lid Lifter, 5” Personal Dutch Oven (National Park Service), Camp Chef’s Cast Iron Conditioner, Pan Scrapers (National Park Service), and Hot Pad.
Join the contest to win! Thru April 29th visit our facebook page where you will find links to enter the sweepstakes. We will contact the winners via email, so once you clicked to enter fill out your name, email address, and tell us what your favorite national park is. That’s all you’ve gotta do, it’s that simple! On April 30th, three winners will be selected at random and contacted by email.
Visit http://www.nps.gov/npweek/ for more details about National Parks Week.
*Photos courtesy of nps.gov and wikipedia.org