Anybody who has ever been to Lake Tahoe knows what a unique place it is. While the natural alpine beauty is remarkable, there are a few other cool facts that make it such a hot vacation destination.
For one, Lake Tahoe is known in the scientific world as oligotrophic. That means that it is still relatively free of the nutrients, such as phosphorous and nitrogen, that lead to algae growth and a decline in water clarity. The increase in erosion and pollution runoff as a result of the ever-expanding human population have resulted in most lakes around the country – and the world – becoming eutrophic.
Despite the year-round population surrounding it, Lake Tahoe remains classified as oligotrophic. While the clarity of the lake is, unfortunately, decreasing each year, that is pretty darn cool. Other facts that make Lake Tahoe even cooler:
* With a depth of 1,645 feet, it’s the second deepest lake in the USA (Crater Lake, Ore., is #1)
* It is 22 miles long and 12 miles wide. The shoreline is 71 miles long (42 miles in California, 29 in Nevada).
*If completely drained, the amount of water in the lake would cover the entire state of California 14 inches deep (it roughly contains 39 trillion gallons of water).
* The amount of water lost to evaporation each day (if it were able to be recovered), is enough to supply the daily water needs of most large cities.
* While there are an estimated 63 streams that flow into the lake, there is only one outlet: The Truckee River.
* Most bodies of water eventually lead to the ocean, but the Truckee River travels eastward into the Nevada desert and flows into Pyramid Lake.
* The lake was formed about 2 to 3 million years ago by normal geological faulting (block faulting). A fracture in the earth’s crust caused blocks of land to move up (Carson range on the east and Sierra Nevada on west) and down (Tahoe Basin).
* The Lake was first named “Lake Bigler” after John Bigler, the third governor of California. While the US Department of Interior did introduce the name Lake Tahoe in 1862, it didn’t formally receive it until 1945.
* The first documented European ever to see Lake Tahoe was explorer and surveyor John C. Fremont.
* The original native inhabitants of the region were the Washoe tribe. The name Tahoe (DaOwAga) translates to “edge of the lake.”
* Despite being at an elevation of 6,225, Lake Tahoe never freezes.
* While some winter days can bring lots of snow, in more than 50 years of weather history, 80% of the days have been classified as sunny.
* The Tahoe Basin averages 8.3 inches of rain and 216 (18 feet) of snow every year.
While there are many interesting facts about Lake Tahoe, the beautiful alpine setting may be the primary one that keeps bringing people back each and every year. All the fantastic winter and summer outdoor activities help too.
Whatever the reasons, Lake Tahoe is a clearly a cool place to visit.