Spotted Lake Facts
- The most noteworthy thing about the incredible Spotted Lake appears in the form of “spots” that materialize on its surface. In fact, these form on a regular basis, appearing each summer as the water slowly evaporates.
- This astonishing geological feature has also played a role in the history of the area. The indigenous First Nations peoples of the region have considered its waters sacred for centuries. During World War 1, its minerals were used in the making of munitions for use by the Allies.
- The private owners of the land sold it to the Okanagan Syilx peoples, and today it forms a protected area. A protective barrier has also been erected around the site, restricting public access. The location remains both a sacred site and a source of traditional medicine for the First Nations.
Spotted Lake Physical Description
To begin with, the mesmerizing uniqueness of Spotted Lake thankfully does not rely on sheer size.
This is actually a small lake. It only has a maximum length of approximately 0.43 mi (0.7 km), and a maximum width of only 0.16 mi (0.25 km). In addition, it has a total shore length of about 1.1 mi (1.7 km).
The altitude of the surface of the distinctive lake routinely varies with its constant evaporation with the seasons. Yet, on average, it sits at an altitude of 1,880 ft (573 m).
The distinctive circles themselves vary in size, depth, and number each year. Yet, though their numbers vary, they average exactly 365 each year….one for every day of the year. How incredible is that?
While this appears to be a completely random occurrence, it serves to add to the aura of the location.
Spotted Lake Composition and Importance
While the remarkable Spotted Lake isn’t the only alkaline lake in the world, it’s certainly one of the most distinctive.
It primarily contains great quantities of calcium, magnesium sulfate, and sodium. It also contains smaller quantities of other minerals, and even trace amounts of titanium and silver suspended in its water.
When the water evaporates, these remain behind as deposits sitting on the newly dry lake bed. Since each “spot” forms independently, they appear in different colors, depending upon mineral composition.
The local Okanagan Syilx peoples, of the First Nations, continue to use the waters of the lake for medicinal purposes. The lake is a sacred site to their people, and numerous cairns surround the lake, containing graves.
It’s primarily for this reason that the site remains fenced off from tourists, yet it can be viewed from nearby.