Emerald water glistens in the mid-day sun. A gentle breeze is blowing softly on your face as you listen to the waves lap against enormous rounded boulders. At this point, maybe you’re thinking to yourself, I wonder if there are some relevant facts and geological information available to me so I have a better understanding of what I am looking at here…
Well, think no more. Here are some tidbits of information sure to inject your melon with some serious perspective.
Lake Tahoe is known as the “Jewel of the Sierra”. It is the largest alpine lake on the North American continent and its fresh H20 fills an area of about 191 square miles. At its widest, it stretches 12 miles and is 22 miles long from tip to tip. The lake is the second deepest lake on the continent, scaling in at an impressive 1,645 feet deep. Folklore says that “the world is not ready to see what is at the bottom of Lake Tahoe.” The 38 degree waters of Tahoe’s depths are, well, preserving (I’ll allow imagination and the days of the Vegas gangsters to fill in the blanks here. With Halloween right around the corner, I’m sure I need not elaborate…).
You watch as from on high and you can clearly make out a large Kokanee salmon patrolling the depths precariously close to shore. A Bald Eagle watches from above. America, you think to yourself.
There are more facts that will make your head spin.
Lake Tahoe trails only the five Great Lakes when it comes to volume of water. In fact, if you were very careful, you could theoretically cover the entire state of California with 17 inches of Tahoe’s azure water! “Say, whaaaaat?” That’s right, there’s enough water in Lake Tahoe to flood the entire state of California. WOW.
Although the lake has been losing clarity due to pollution of about .25 meters per year (the Keep Tahoe Blue movement has successfully rallied the public and the clarity loss is being slowed) you can see down from the surface about 70 feet with perfect clarity. That means you could land a Scrabble board 70 feet down on a rock and still be able to make out the words.
It is difficult to put into words the incredible geological spectacle of this glacially formed lake. The 10,000 foot peaks that dot the panorama of Lake Tahoe were formed by two converging fault lines and the lake fills the space in between. Did I mention that you can ski here too? I guess you’ll just have to come see it for yourself.