On This Day in 1902, Crater Lake National Park was established. As the deepest lake in the United States of America – 592 m (1943 ft) – it is actually the remaining cauldron or caldera of an ancient volcano called Mount Mazama that exploded and collapsed roughly 5700 years ago. Crater Lake is part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc that also includes 20 volcanic mountains such as Mount Baker, Mount Hood, and Mount St. Helens. The park includes the land around mountain remnants that surround the caldera lake formed in Mazama’s neck and partly emptied magma chamber. The crater is a gigantic basin that catches the water from snows or rains that fall on it. No rivers or streams flow in or out. The edges of Mazama’s destroyed cone form the lake’s ragged rim in elevations over 2100 m (7,000 ft)
In 1988 and 1989, hydrothermal biological, and geological studies of the lake bottom were conducted in the spherical and transparent acrylic submersible, Deep Rover. Studies included a limited exploration of the distribution of deep-water plants and animals and the revelation of hydrothermal bacteria colonies in yellow-orange mats that appear to cascade down sediment slopes and rock outcrops within the lake.
Above or below the water’s surface, Crater Lake National Park is a fine place to study the ecological effects of, and recovery after, a massive volcanic explosion – from geology and watersheds to plant and animal adaptations.