Lake Tahoe Facts
- The deceptively simple name of Lake Tahoe serves as the english language name of this breathtaking creation of natural processes. This also constitutes the only accepted moniker for the natural marvel. That term, however, derives from a much older one.
- The ancient Native American inhabitants of the surrounding region long knew of its existence. In fact, the lake served as the heart of the territory of the Washoe people. In their native tongue, this true masterpiece of Nature bore the name of Dáʔaw.
- Several areas bordering the lake still represent sacred sites to the tribe. One particularly large rock formation on the southeastern shore continues to be especially important to them. Today, unfortunately, a highway tunnel now passes through it.
- European explorers, though, did not learn of its existence until much later. Lt. John C. Fremont became the first recorded non-native to see this geologic marvel. He encountered it during his second expedition to the region on February 14, 1844.
- Between 1880 and 1930 multiple attempts to have the site declared a National Park took place. Sadly, however, multiple factors prevented the approval. In modern times its stunning natural beauty makes it an extraordinarily popular tourist attraction.
- Presently, over 75% of the land surrounding the watershed area of Lake Tahoe forms national forest land. The entirety of that region’s overseen by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. That, in turn, represents a division of National Forest Service.
Lake Tahoe Physical Description
The mesmerizing Lake Tahoe instantly captivates those fortunate enough to visit the site. Unlike some other locations, though, it does so for more than one reason. In its case, this body of water, and its surrounding terrain, impresses due to both beauty and size.
Its sheer physical dimensions clearly represent one of these statistics. To put this into perspective, after only the Great Lakes themselves, it holds thre greatest volume of any lake in its country. Its depth also ranks it as the second deepest in the same region.
The beautiful freshwater body currently has a maximum known depth of 1,645 ft (501 m). The formation also has an equally impressive average depth. This equals roughly 1,000 ft (300 m). That makes this specific body of water the 16th deepest known lake on earth.
These statistics rank it as the 5th deepest in the world in terms of average depth. In its region, only Crater Lake, itself a wonder of Nature, surpasses it in this category. Its overall surface area doesn’t fail to amaze, either. This totals an astounding 191 sq mi (490 sq km).
The overall shape of the gorgeous Lake Tahoe further displays a notably elongated structure. This measures approximately 22 mi (35 km) in length and about 12 mi (19 km) in width. Its irregular shape and winding outline give it an impressive total of 72 mi (116 km) of coastline.
Lake Tahoe Location, Formation, and Ecology
The location of the jewel of geology known as Lake Tahoe probably comes as no surprise to those who learn of it. That’s due to the fact that it formed in a portion of the globe renowned for its abundance natural wonders. It formed as part of the continent of North America.
More precisely, it lies within the boundaries of the country of the United States. There, its postion places it in the approximate northwest portion of the country. In point of fact, it roughly straddles the borders of the states of California and Nevada, west of Carson City.
Evidence indicates that the freshwater lake originally formed roughly 2 million years ago. It represented part of what’s now known as the Lake Tahoe Basin. That area formed due to uplift motions by tectonic plates. Three main faults contributed to this action.
Subsequent glacial activity later carved out the region as it essentially exists today. That activity ended roughly 15,000 years ago. The underlying rock strata also holds a primarily volcanic origin. Melting snows and rains continue to maintain the lake in its present form.
The region of Lake Tahoe boasts a striking climate. Summers typically remain relatively dry and warm. Winters, however, generally presents chilly temperatures and frequent snowfall. A truly remarkable ecological balance therefore exists within its immediate region.
Conifer forests dominate its surroundings. Numerous fields and meadows also appear. Several native fish species live in the cold waters of the lake. Bald eagles and North American Beaver also make their homes here. Various species of bear also live in the surrounding area.