Geography at Crater Lake National Park

Geography at Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park is located in southern Oregon on the crest of the Cascade Mountain Range. According to the National Park Service, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the bill giving national park status to Crater Lake on May 22, 1902.


Crater Lake National Park is characterized by cool summers (temperatures range from highs in the 60s to freezing) and moist winters. Crater Lake is one of the snowiest areas in the Northwest.


The 12,000-foot Mount Mazama collapsed 7,700 years ago after a violent eruption. This formed a caldera (a volcanic basin), which has filled with rainfall and snowmelt for thousands of years since. The result is Crater Lake, a place of immense beauty and extreme water clarity.

Land Forms

Dangerously sheer cliffs surround the deep, blue Crater Lake. Within the lake are two islands---Wizard Island and Phantom Ship. A mountain hemlock log, known as "The Old Man of Crater Lake," has been floating upright in the lake for more than 100 years.


Soil samples taken by the Natural Resources Conservation Service show that volcanic material from the eruption of Mount Mazama covers about 90 percent of the surface of the park. The remaining 10 percent, found along the western and southwestern edges of the park, formed on glacial ground moraines about 15,000 to 25,000 years ago.


A wealth of ferns, flowering herbs, wildflowers and lichens can be found within Crater Lake National Park. Tree species such as pines, firs, hemlock, spruce and cedar are abundant, as well as numerous varieties of shrubs and undergrowth.

Article Written By Megan Torrini

Megan Torrini is a freelance writer in Minnesota. For the past several years her articles have appeared in various websites and newsletters. She has a Bachelor of Science in environmental studies from the University of Minnesota, and has completed coursework in Information Technology at NAU.

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