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Natural rim: 6223′ above sea level New Year’s Flood High lake level: 6,229.39. The lake was over its maximum level for 13 days in January. Surface area: 193 sq. mi., 22 miles long, 12 wide. Shoreline: 71 mi.Capacity: 122,160,280 acre feet of water. Depth: Maximum=1,685′, Average=989′ Surface temperature: 41-68 degrees, with a constant 39 degree temp. below 600.’ Lowest recorded level: 6221.68′ in Nov. ’91 Furthermore…
Many drowning victims are never recovered from Lake Tahoe because the cold water at lower depths preserves the bodies, preventing the formation of internal gasses that would otherwise cause them to float to the surface.
If the Lake was tipped over, its contents would cover California in 14.5 inches of water, while Texas would be under 8.5 inches.
Tahoe could provide every person in the United States with 50 gallons of water per day for 5 years.
The sun shines an average of 274 days each year, but snow can fall during any month. At lake level, the area receives an average of 125 inches of snow annually. Higher elevations can receive an average of 300 to 500 inches annually.
Lake Tahoe isn’t a crater. It was formed by movement of the earth’s crust and volcanic activity only sealed the end of the valley, allowing rivers and streams to fill the basin.
On average, 1,400,000 tons of water (or 1/10th of an inch) evaporates from the lake every day.
The evaporation alone from Tahoe over the course of one year could supply a city the size of Los Angeles for 5 years.
It would take 300 years of severe drought for Lake Tahoe to drain significantly.
Lake Tahoe is as long as the English Channel is wide. The Panama Canal, 700′ wide and 50′ deep, could be filled with Tahoe’s water, even if it circled the globe at the equator, and there would still be water left over to fill a canal of the same size running from San Francisco to New York.
The lake is fed by 63 streams and two hot springs.
There is just one outlet for the lake, the Truckee river at Tahoe City. The Truckee feeds northeastward into Pyramid Lake, and this lake’s water never reaches an ocean.
Tahoe isn’t the deepest lake in the world, or even the United States. It is the eighth deepest in the world (Russia’s Lake Baikal leads at 5,315′) and second to Oregon’s Crater Lake at 1,932 in the United States.
As an “interstate navigable waterway” the Lake is protected by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Tahoe is famous for its clarity, which at times can extend to 75′ of underwater visibility. A large reason for this clarity is because 40% of the precipitation that falls into the basin falls directly onto the lake. Much of the remaining precipitation drains through marshes and meadows in a natural and effective filtering system.
The only fish truly native to this area is the Lahontan cuthroat trout, though mackinaw, rainbow trout and kokanee salmon also inhabit Tahoe. Non-natives were introduced as early as the mid-1800s to provide food for miners as the Lahontan fishery was drastically depleted.
The Tahoe Basin has more than 8,800 acres of ski resort property – 15 alpine and 13 nordic areas. The longest run (5.5 mi.) and the steepest drop (3,500 ft.) are at Heavenly Ski area at South Lake Tahoe.
Submerged stumps of trees have been found at elevations 16′ below the natural rim, indicating that Tahoe was much lower thousands of years ago.
For 75 years, until 1945, Tahoe was not officially Tahoe, but “Lake Bigler.” After leading a rescue party into the Sierra to save a group of snowbound emigrants, John Bigler- California’s third Governor- was honored by dignitaries in Placerville, who tagged his name on the lake in 1852. The name of the body of water from 1844, when it was ‘discovered’ by a group of about 40 white men was accurate but unoriginal “Mountain Lake.”
Two people have swum the lake: Earline Christopherson in 1962 swam it in 13 hrs and 37 minutes and she was only 16 at the time. Fred Rogers from South San Francisco accomplished this in 1955.
While ice may sometimes form along shoreline inlets and Emerald Bay has frozen over, Lake Tahoe has never been know to solidify on the surface. The lake’s great depth and volume causes enough movement to prevent freezing.
It was legal to commercially fish the lake until 1917. As early as 1856 a private hatchery at Tahoe City and later two hatcheries of the California Fish commission produced fry for the lake.
Credited with giving the lake the name that stuck is California writer Dr. Henry DeGroot, who was asked to come up with a descriptive Native American word after more traditional titles like “Washington” and “Lincoln” were dismissed. DeGroot claimed “tahoe” meant “big water” or “high water” but many claimed otherwise.
In October 1880 commercial operators took 70,000 lbs. of trout from the lake. By 1904, 80 fishing boats worked Lake Tahoe.