Striking changes in South Dakota's Lake Thompson


Striking changes in South Dakota’s Lake Thompson Today’s Video of the Day from the U.S Geological Survey explores the dynamics of rivers in the Prairie Pothole Region of South Dakota.

Lake Thompson, which is located in the eastern part of the state, transformed from a wetland with a small pool of water in 1952 to the largest natural lake in South Dakota by the 1980s.

Today, some regions of the lake shift between dry land, marsh, and open water.In the 1980s, the area was a 9,000-acre marsh. Heavy rains and snowmelt in the mid-80s filled the lake to over 20 feet deep. The lake is so distinct it was designated as a National Natural Landmark. Laura Ingalls Wilder called the area around DeSmet her home.

Lake Thompson (South Dakota) By the early 1990s, it had grown to cover (at times) 20,000 acres (81 km 2 ), becoming the largest natural lake in the state. The lake is the location of a state recreation area managed by the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks which includes camping facilities. Striking changes in South Dakota’s Lake Thompson as seen above in video.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

Video Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

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