Lake Tahoe, the ice-age lake

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USGS Hazard Science – Understanding the Risks is Key to Preparedness

Looking down Emerald bay, I saw the majestic hand elongating a straight green mirrored fjord and right in its center, like a precious stone on a ring, the only Tahoe Island where Vikingsholm was built and the "Eagle falls" make their last journey into the lake - blue jays were coming to visit and playful squirrels and chip monks would crack the floor nuts, while magnificent cedars and pines were watching the natural surroundings, with towering sheer granite cliffs above protecting the natural habitat, like sentinels that have withstood the ice age.

I've got out my old reliable Coleman stove and prepared myself some bacon and eggs and black steaming coffee, when the first golden rays of the early morning sun were softly kissing the shoreline. Bright summer day peeking sunrays thru the pine trees, could see the blue sky above and felt the fragrance of pristine woods all around me.

What a wonderful place to be in tune with God's creation, paradise on high country, full of colors, flowers and life sharing the planet with us, and at that moment of glory, I made a promise to myself, to always return to Bonanza Ranch land, the blessed corner of the American west.

Fast Fire Facts from USGS

Lake Tahoe was formed during the ice age together with other lakes found in the area between California and Nevada. The Washoe Indian tribe lived around the Tahoe Basin and became in contact with the first pioneers. The Native Americans told stories of winged monsters nesting the center of the lake and prehistoric creatures that would come up to shore. Nothing was ever confirmed and recorded. The first time when I visited this beautiful lake, I drove my faithful '65 Olds from California, later on, I visited the place many times in the subsequent years after I was caught once in a snow storm near Echo Summit, when I left the lower valley I had sunshine on my shoulders, but after climbing to the higher levels, the mild rain turned into a heavy snow fall changing the scenery altogether.

I mention the Donner Party, a wagon train of explorers and pioneers that came to California from the east, but got trapped in the crudest winter of the sierra Nevada, and some of the survivors were forced to cannibalism, in order to get food for their bodies.

Lake Tahoe (DJI)

The existence of glaciers in the Sierra Nevada was identified shortly thereafter, in October, , by the well-known naturalist John Muir Muir, Muir had been tracing the routes of ancient glaciers in Yosemite National Park when he reached a cirque and proclaimed that he had found a "living glacier". Muir went on to count many more glaciers in his travels in the Sierra Nevada.

One summer, Muir conducted glacier motion experiments on Maclure Glacier , also in Yosemite National Park, by placing stakes into the ice. Through these measurements, Muir confirmed that these ice bodies were indeed moving and therefore could be considered true glaciers Muir, An expedition led by I. Russell's report also contained a map of the glaciers of Mount Shasta created by Gilbert Thompson.

Mount Shasta is a stratovolcano located in northern California. Mount Shasta glaciers have a total area of 4. This mountain range spans over kilometers along the eastern California border. Glaciers are located in the central and southern portions of the Sierra Nevada. The USGS mapped over small mountain glaciers and perennial ice fields with areas over 0. These small glaciers are located at high elevations above m on the north and northeast sides of mountain cirques. The Palisade Glacier is the largest glacier in the Sierra Nevada, with an area of 0. In contrast, the smallest named glacier is Lilliput Glacier , 0.

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Gregory Ziolkowski. Dana Glacier unofficial name in left, photo by I. Bailey, R.

U.S. Geological Survey

Basagic, H. Arctic, Antarctica and Alpine Research, 43 3 : Blackwelder, E. Clark, D. Fountain, A. Geological Survey Open-File Report p. Matthes, F.


Muir, J. Sharp, R. Climate change around the end of the Pleistocene epoch led to a gradual desiccation of ancient Lake Lahontan. The lake had largely disappeared in its extended form by about 9, years ago. As the surface elevation dropped, the lake broke up into series of smaller lakes, most of which rapidly dried up, leaving only a playa. The only modern remnants existing as true lakes are Pyramid Lake and Walker Lake. Winnemucca Lake has been dry since the s and Honey Lake periodically desiccates.

About Lake Tahoe (then and now)

The ancient shoreline is evidenced by tufa formations throughout the area. Surprisingly, the watershed feeding Lake Lahontan is not thought to have been significantly wetter during its highstand than it is currently. Rather, its desiccation is thought to be mostly due to increase in the evaporation rate as the climate warmed. Archaeological evidence along the shore indicates the existence of the lake coincided roughly with the first appearance of humans in the region.

The Lahontan cutthroat trout evolved as a predator species within the waters of Lake Lahontan, feeding on native chub and sucker.

Lake Tahoe, the ice-age lake Lake Tahoe, the ice-age lake
Lake Tahoe, the ice-age lake Lake Tahoe, the ice-age lake
Lake Tahoe, the ice-age lake Lake Tahoe, the ice-age lake
Lake Tahoe, the ice-age lake Lake Tahoe, the ice-age lake
Lake Tahoe, the ice-age lake Lake Tahoe, the ice-age lake

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