Is Crater Lake the seventh deepest lake in
the world, the eighth or the third?
Depends on how it’s figured.
Owen Hoffman, a director with the Crater
Lake Institute and a former park ranger, created a series of
scenarios that give argument to any of the three claims.
Typically, Crater Lake is regarded the
world’s seventh deepest lake, and the deepest in the U.S.,
with a maximum depth of 1,949 feet.
Hoffman, whose research at the park from
1966 to 1968 led to a master’s degree in limnology and
ecology from Oregon State University, said Crater Lake could
be regarded the world’s eighth deepest lake with the recent
discovery of sub-glacial Lake Vostok in Antarctica, which is
believed to be 2,133 feet deep. The lake surface of Vostok,
however, is covered by nearly 13,000 feet of ice that, based
on studies, is almost as old as the oldest rocks inside the
Crater Lake caldera.
But using other criteria, Hoffman says
Crater Lake can be regarded the deepest lake in North
America, and third deepest in the world.
H&N file photo - Crater
Lake is often thought of as the world’s seventh
deepest lake, and the deepest in the U.S., with a
maximum depth of 1,949 feet. But its rank depends on
how the list is calculated.
Hoffman’s revised ranking is based on
determining an average depth.
Great Slave Lake in Canada, with a maximum
depth of 2,014 feet, or 614 meters, is the deepest in North
America. Great Slave, however, has an average depth of only
73 meters. Crater Lake, created by a series of eruptions
that blew off the top of prehistoric Mount Mazama 7,700
years ago leaving the caldera that contains the lake, has an
average depth of 1,148 feet, or 349 meters.
Based on Hoffman’s research, the deepest
lake in the world, Baikal in Russia, has a maximum depth of
1,637 meters and average depth of 758 meters. The second
deepest lake, Tanganyika, has a maximum depth of 1,470
meters and an average depth of 540 meters, which means it
retains second place.
“Compared to the average depth of Crater
Lake, the other lakes begin to fall behind,” Hoffman said,
noting the Caspian Sea, which has a maximum depth of 1,025
meters, has an average depth of 184 meters.
Likewise, Lake Vostok, with its maximum
depth of about 1,000 meters, or 2,133 feet, has an average
depth of 292 meters, while Lake Issyk-Kul, with a maximum
depth of 668 meters, has an average depth of 270 meters. The
average depth of Lake Tahoe, which has a maximum depth of
501 meters, is 305 meters.
“Thus,” Hoffman said, “based on its
average depth Crater Lake has moved up among the lakes of
the world from eighth place — seventh if one excludes the
subglacial Lake Vostok — to win the bronze medal.”