La Gorce Arch, Lake Powell, Utah

January 05, 2012

LaGorceArchLakePowell2008#1 (2)

Photographer: Thomas McGuire
Summary Author: Thomas McGuire

Lake Powell on the Colorado River was created with the completion of the Glen Canyon Dam in 1963. In terms of water volume, it's the second largest reservoir in the United States and stores a major portion of fresh water reserves for seven states of the American Southwest. It was named after explorer and geologist, John Wesley Powell, a Civil War veteran who first descended the treacherous canyons of the Colorado River in 1869, in what is now Utah.

The economic viability of major areas of the Southwest has been threatened in recent decades by warming trends, in some cases severely reducing supplies of fresh water. Overallocation of Colorado River water has worried urban planners in this arid part of the United States. In recent years, Lake Powell had dropped approximately 150 ft (46 m) to roughly 50 percent of capacity. However, snowfall in the Rocky Mountains, the headwaters of the Colorado River, was abundant in the winter of 2010-2011. When this snow melted in late spring and summer, lake levels rose dramatically. The image on the left shows the author at La Gorce Arch on the Escalante Arm of Lake Powell in 2008. The photograph on the right was taken in late October 2011. Note that the large rock on the right side of both images is nearly submerged in the October image. It's too early to tell if Lake Powell will continue to rise toward its capacity in 2012?

Photo details: Left - Camera Maker: FUJIFILM; Camera Model: FinePix S9000; Focal Length: 6.2mm; Aperture: f/4.0; Exposure Time: 0.0036 s (1/280); ISO equiv: 200; Exposure Bias: -0.33 EV; Metering Mode: Matrix; Exposure: program (Auto); White Balance: Auto; Light Source: Unknown; Flash Fired: No (enforced);
Orientation: Normal; Color Space: sRGB; Software: Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 Macintosh. Right - Olympus EVOLT 510 camera.