Crater Lake is an incredible place. One of the High Cascades’ numerous stratovolcanoes, it was, at one time, the base of a mountain that stretched as much as 12,000 feet skyward. About 7,000 years ago (5200 BCE), a catastrophic eruption blasted the mountain skyward, and in a massive event that lasted for days and days, the entire mountain sank into the earth, leaving behind a massive caldera.
For the next 720 years, sporadic small eruptions and landslides were contained within the caldera, which filled with amazingly clear water (usually 30-40 meters of visibility) and left behind a lake that would astonish people for centuries. The eruption was witnessed by the local Klamath peoples, and remained in their legends as a battle between the sky god Skell and the god of the underworld, Llao. It has remained a place of great spiritual meaning ever since.
When Theodore Roosevelt first saw the lake, he immediately became infatuated with it, and when he became president he declared it a national park in 1902. The first white men to see the lake were perhaps a trio of prospectors in 1853, and the lake was officially surveyed in 1886 by a USGS expedition which hauled a boat up and over the crater rim to perform depth soundings of the lake.
The lake is 1,949 feet deep, and is the deepest lake in the USA, and the tenth deepest in the world.
I last visited on September 17th (birthday!) 2016.
My collaborator (and molecular microbiologist extraordinaire) Dr. Trinity Hamilton snapped this picture of me harvesting snow algae from the surface of Collier Glacier on the flank of the North Sister in Central Oregon. In the background (looking north, from left to right) you can see Belknap Crater, Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Hood, and the very top of Mt. Adams on the hazy horizon. In the foreground are Little Brother (left) and Collier Cone (right). Not a bad way to start the morning collecting geochemical and microbiological samples!
Wish you were here (esp. to help filter water and carry out rocks)!
Colorful vine maples adorn the basalt monolith of Oregon’s Table Rock Wilderness. A 3.3 mile long trail with a modest grade climbs through stately forest past tall basalt cliffs before topping out at drop-dead gorgeous viewpoints stretching from high Cascade Peaks to the Willamette Valley. Table Rock stands at 4,881 feet above sea level and has a rich forest of Douglas fir and western hemlock, with noble fir at higher elevations.
Follow along all day today as the Bureau of Land Management (mypubliclands) takes over Interior’s Instagram account, sharing the vast and rugged landscapes of the National Conservation Lands. The newest national system of public lands, the National Conservation Lands celebrate their 15th birthday this week. https://instagram.com/usinterior/
The perfect #MothersDay gift - a ride down the North Umpqua Wild and Scenic River in Oregon! Located about 25 miles east of Roseburg, the Umpqua drains several high Cascade Peaks, and gains flows from basalt springs as its crystal clear waters drop towards the coast. New photos by Bob Wick, BLM