Crater lake

CRATER LAKE (1,950ft deep) is situated in a 7,700-year-old caldera in the Cascades of south-central Oregon, United States.

crater lake twilight

It is famous for its intense blue colour and the clarity of its water.  The lake is the deepest in the US and, the third and the ninth deepest in the world, depending on whether average or maximum depth is measured.  Though no rivers flow into or out of it, its waters are replaced every 250 years through rain and snowfall.

Crater lake

A post caldera cinder cone forms WIZARD ISLAND.  Crater Lake is also known for the OLD MAN OF THE LAKE, a full-sized tree which is now a stump that has been bobbing vertically in the lake for over a century.  The low temperature of the water has slowed the decomposition of the wood, hence the longevity of the bobbing tree.

There are two islands in Crater Lake  : WIZARD ISLAND, formed from a cinder cone that erupted after Crater lake began to fill with water, and the smaller PHANTOM SHIP, which has seven different trees living on it.  There are also colonies of violet-green swallows and several varieties of wildflowers and lichens living there.

Crater lake top view

While having no indigenous fish populations, the lake was stocked  from 1888 to 1941 with a variety of fish.  Several species have formed self-sustaining populations.  Due to several unique factors, mainly that the lake has no inlets or tributaries, the waters of Crater Lake are some of the purest in the world because of the absence of pollutants.  The lake has relatively high levels of dissolves salts, total alkalinity and conductivity.

crater lake

The Klamath Tribe of Native Americans, who may have witnessed the collapse of Mount Mazama and the formation of Crater Lake, have long regarded the lake as a sacred site.  Their legends tell of a battle between the Sky God (SKELL) and the God of the Underworld (LLAO).  Mount Mazama was destroyed in the battle, creating Crater Lake, called GIIWAS in the Klamath language.  The tribe used Crater Lake in “vision quests”, which often involved  climbing the caldera walls and other dangerous tasks.  Those who were successful in such quests were often regarded as having more spiritual powers.  The tribe still holds Crater lake in high regard as a spiritual site.

Since 2002, one of the State’s regular-issue license plate designs has featured Crater Lake.  The commemorative  Oregon State Quarter, which was released by the US Mint in 2005, features an image of Crater Lake on its reverse.


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