Bear Lake: “The Caribbean of the Rockies”

Today’s Image of the Day comes courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory and features a stunning satellite image of Bear Lake in the Rocky Mountains.

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Today’s Image of the Day comes courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory and features a stunning satellite image of Bear Lake in the Rocky Mountains.

Bear Lake sits on the border of Utah and Idaho and is known for its vibrant bright blue color, rich with sediment. The two swirls near the center of the lake are pieces of sediment rotating in the deepest part of the water.

The lake has even been called the “Caribbean of the Rockies” due to its turquoise color, which is due to the reflection of limestone deposits. It measures 19 miles in length and 109 square miles in size. Water flows into the lake through Swan Creek and Fish Haven Canyon, and across the water at North Eden Creek.

Bear Lake is over 250,000 years old and originally formed by fault subsidence. This is where the earth’s surface pushes downwards, which has deepened the lake on the east side. As a result of its mature age, the lake has an especially high rate of endemism, where native species exist within its waters that are not naturally found anywhere else.

Remaining endemic species of fish with a Bear Lake strain include the Bonneville Cutthroat Trout, Bonneville whitefish, Bonneville cisco, as well as the Bear Lake whitefish and sculpin.

The climate is typically warm and dry during the summer, and then temperatures drop and the lake freezes over most winters.

The waters of Bear Lake are also used to irrigate the Bear Valley of southeast Idaho. The lake is also a popular tourist destination for fishing and a variety of recreational activities.

By Rory Arnold, Earth.com Staff Writer

Source: NASA Earth Observatory