Crater Lake and Belt of Venus

February 15, 2005


Provided and copyright by: Steve Kluge, Fox Lane High School
Summary authors & editors: Steve Kluge

After several days of incredibly clear, dry weather in late July, 2004, my family and I were treated to this spectacular evening view across Crater Lake in southern Oregon. About 7000 years ago, Mt. Mazama, one of the Cascade volcanoes formed by melting in the subduction zone that underlies the Pacific Northwest, collapsed in a catastrophic eruption leaving the caldera that's today occupied by Crater Lake.

Crater Lake is remarkable in several regards: it is deep - 594 m (1,949 ft) at it's deepest, quite clear - in 1994 a secchi disk was visible at a depth of 40.8 m (134 ft), it has no inlets or surface outlets - precipitation is balanced almost perfectly by evaporation and whatever seeps into the earth under the lake, and it's remarkably blue.

This photo was taken looking east as the Sun set behind us. Mt. Scott, on the western flank of the crater (left of center on the horizon) is an old volcano (450,000 or so years old) that forms the oldest rocks in the Park. Wizard Island, a more recent cinder cone, dominates the foreground. Prominent during this crystal clear evening sky was the pink Belt of Venus, and just below it the rising nighttime sky.

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