Is Two Miles Deep: Crater Lake the Subject of Investigation – August 21, 1896

Is Two Miles Deep: Crater Lake the Subject of Investigation

Akron Pioneer Press
August 21, 1896

The United States Fish Commission has just dispatched an Expedition to Oregon’s Wonderful Body of Water May be Stocked.

(Washington Letter.)

The United States Fish Commission has just sent an expedition to investigate the famous Crater Lake in Oregon. This is the deepest body of fresh water in America. Only one lake in the world is deeper — namely, Baikal, which exceeds it in depth by about 40 feet. Until recently it was asserted that Crater Lake was bottomless, but soundings have proved that its greatest depth is 2,000 feet. It is five miles in diameter, nearly circular, and occupies the crater of an extinct volcano.

Now, no fish have ever been known to exist in Crater Lake. Not long ago a request that it be stocked with trout was sent to Washington by the Mazamas, who are a club of mountain-climbers having headquarters at Portland. Mazama is the Indian name for mountain goat. These climbers are anxious to angle in the extinct crater, and the government experts are going to find out whether or not such a thing is practicable. It is easy enough to put trout into the water, but that would be of no use unless there is food for them there. Trials will be made for the purpose of ascertaining how much food there is and whether or not it is of a kind suitable for speckled beauties to browse upon.

This will be accomplished by towing small nets of gauze along the surface of the water. The water will flow through the gauze, which will catch all the animalculae that come in its way. The quantity of the latter secured in a given number of minutes or hours will be an accurate measure of the amount of the amount of fish food present. They will be bottled and preserved in formaline for subsequent examination by a specialist, who will determine the species, who will determine the species represented. Chiefly they will be little shrimps and other small crustaceans, and there will be some insects also. It will be necessary to make the towings at different hours of the day few centuries ago. But there was a time when there was neither pit nor lake, and instead might have been a single enormous cone towering into the sky like Shasta or Hood and forming a prominent peak of the range. Some tremendous geologic catastrophe broke off the top of the cone. Probably it will always remain a mystery how this huge mountain, nearly six miles in diameter and a mile higher than at present, was removed, and in what manner the pit now occupied by Crater Lake was produced.

It might be imagined that the top of the mountain was blown off, but geologists do not believe that this was the case. The probability is that the molten entrails of the giant volcano found an outlet near its base and escaped there. Thus the top sank, and the final eruptive effort of the mountain is represented by the cinder cone whose top is called Wizard Island. Crater Lake has no visible outlet, but it is thought that there is a subterranean escape for some of the water. To the north of the lake stands Mount Thielson, which is remarkable for its sharp summit and for the occurrence thereon of a peculiar kind of glass known as “fulgurite.” This glass is made by lightning, which strikes the quartz rock and fuses the silica. The peak in question has been such a favorite target for lightning that its glass-covered rocks gleam in the sunlight.

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