Crater Lake Data Clearinghouse

Welcome to the Crater Lake Data Clearinghouse website. This text-only page is an attempt to summarize the information about Crater Lake and the data available on this website. It is a condensed form of the website, please visit the individual pages for detail and data download.

The site is designed for ease of use and navigation with the following layout on every page:

  • USGS Crater Lake Data Clearinghouse logo on the top.
  • Menu (navigation) bar to the right.
  • Signature and speed bar at the bottom.

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The Crater Lake Data Clearinghouse website, created and maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), is a gateway to information and data on Crater Lake. This website is designed to ensure that all interested users -- scientists, engineers, resource managers, developers, and the public -- have quick and easy access to a wide range of data and GIS products. The primary goal of this clearinghouse is to facilitate the coordination of research, monitoring, and environmental management activities in Crater Lake, and to ensure the widest possible access to data and information resulting from such activities.

Users of this data clearinghouse have access to a wide range of digital data and Geographic Information System (GIS) products. Examples include high-quality digital maps of digital elevation models, digital orthophoto quadrangles, digital line graphs, and digital raster graphics for the Crater Lake area. Some of the data resides on the USGS server at the Western Geographic Science Center, Menlo Park, California. The bulk of the data and information, located in databases maintained by the partnering agencies, is accessible from this clearinghouse via links.

The site is organized into three different sections: (1) Digital Data, (2) Science, (3) General.

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Digital Data Section

This section allows users to have easy access to a wide range of data and GIS products specific to Crater Lake. Data include high quality digital maps of geographic and geologic information. The USGS provides four digital cartographic products (the 4 D's):
1. Digital Elevation Model (DEM).
3. Digital Line Graph (DLG).
2. Digital Orthophoto Quadrangle (DOQ).
4. Digital Raster Graphic (DRG).

Topics covered in this section:

Data Downloads

GIS data depot for all available data downloads and metadata are linked from here. Downloadable data are available for the following topics: DEM, DLG, DOQ, DRG, Bathymetry, and National Atlas.

Crater Lake National Park covers twelve 7.5-minute quadrangle maps. These 12 individual quads have been mosaicked together. The mosaicked files are more convenient for looking at areas throughout the basin or areas on the edge of two quadrangles. Data are in UTM NAD27 zone 10 projection.

Here is an index of the individual quads that cover Crater Lake National Park:


Digital Elevation Model (DEM)

Cartographic/geographic data of elevations in xyz coordinates (view data in 3-dimensions).

A Digital Elevation Model (DEM) is digital cartographic/geographic data in raster form. The terrain elevations for ground positions are sampled at regularly spaced horizontal intervals. DEMs are derived from hypsographic data (contour lines) and/or photogrammetric methods using USGS 7.5-minute, 15-minute, 2-arc-second (30- by 60-minute), and 1-degree (1:250,000-scale) topographic quadrangle maps.

Data Downloads are available for 10-meter resolution, with or without the bathymetry data. Formats are available for .dem, ArcInfo, and JPEG with world file.

Digital Line Graph (DLG)

Cartographic data in vector format (geographic data in points, lines, and polygons).

A Digital Line Graph (DLG) is digital vector data representing cartographic information. DLGs contain a wide variety of information depicting geographic features (for example, hypsography, hydrography, boundaries, roads, utility lines, etc). DLGs are derived from hypsographic data (contour lines) using USGS 7.5-minute, 15-minute, 2-arc-second (30- by 60-minute), and 1:2 million-scale topographic quadrangle maps.

Data Downloads are available in shapefile for the following items: Hypsography, Hydrography, Boundary, and Road.

Digital Orthophoto Quadrangle (DOQ)

Digital, uniform-scale image created from aerial photos (a photographic map).

A Digital Orthophoto Quadrangle (DOQ) is a digital, uniform-scale image created from aerial photos. It is a photographic map in which ground features are displayed in their true ground position, because relief displacements caused by the camera and terrain of an aerial photograph have been removed. It combines the image characteristics of a photograph with the geometric qualities of a map, thus it is possible to get direct measurements of distances, areas, angles, and positions from a DOQ.

Data Downloads are available in MrSID format with world file.

Digital Raster Graphic (DRG)

A scanned version of the USGS 7.5-minute topographic map.

A Digital Raster Graphic (DRG) is a digital image (scanned version) of the USGS topographic map. DRGs are produced from USGS 1:24,000-, 1:24,000/1:25,000-, 1:63,360- (Alaska), 1:100,000-, and 1:250,000-scale topographic map series. The image inside the map neatline is georeferenced to the surface of the Earth and fit to the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) projection. The horizontal positional accuracy and datum of the DRG matches the accuracy and datum of the source map.

Data Downloads are available in MrSID format with world file.


Relief map and data of the lake floor of Crater Lake.

Bathymetry survey of Crater Lake started on July 28, 2000. Scientists from USGS, University of New Hampshire's Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, and National Park Service used the latest high-resolution multi-beam technology to conduct a new survey of the lake bottom.

Data Downloads are available for the following items: High-resolution images from the bathymetric survey, an old 1959 version of the bathymetry in .dem format, and a Fly-by Movie.

National Atlas

Geographic overview of the area around Crater Lake National Park, Oregon.

The National Atlas of the United States of America is a collaborative work established in 1997 by the U.S. Geological Survey and its Atlas Partners. The National Atlas is designed to provide easy to use, map-like views of our natural and socio-cultural landscapes for a better understanding of the complex relationships between environments, places, and people.

Data Downloads are available for federal lands and counties of Oregon in Arview shapefile format.

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Science Section

This section is focused toward the in-depth studies of Crater Lake. Topics can become technical.

Topics covered in this section:

Geologic History

Crater Lake partially fills a type of volcanic depression called a caldera that formed by the collapse of a 3,700 m (12,000 ft) volcano known as Mount Mazama during an enormous eruption approximately 7,700 years ago. The climactic eruption of Mount Mazama changed the landscape all around the volcano. Pyroclastic flows of pumice and ash devastated the surrounding area, including all of the river valleys that drained Mount Mazama to as far as 64 km (40 mi) away, and a blanket of pumice and ash fell to the northeast of the volcano at least as far as central Canada.

Prior to the climactic event, Mount Mazama had a 400,000 years history of activity similar to other Cascade volcanic centers such as Mount Shasta. Since the climactic eruption, there have been several less violent, smaller postcaldera eruptions within the caldera itself. Studies show that hydrothermal activities are present at the lake floor. Scientists are not certain whether any magma still remains underground but it is likely that Mount Mazama will erupt again someday.


General overview of the formation of Crater Lake. The description on this page is a general overview about the formation of Crater Lake.

Crater Lake occupies a basin in Mount Mazama, one of the volcanoes that make up the Cascades Mountain Range along the west coast of the United States. Crater Lake is a beauty born from violent eruptions of spitting fires and rocks. The phrase "GREW, BLEW, FELL, and FILL" describes the process that created Crater Lake. Mount Mazama grew, erupted, then collapsed to form the caldera, and finally precipitation filled the caldera. Although Crater Lake has been dormant for about 5,000 to 6,000 years, there could be another eruption someday in the future and Mount Mazama might grow back. The long history of volcanism at Mount Mazama strongly suggests that this volcanic center will be active in the future.


Life beneath the surface of Crater Lake. Discoveries at the bottom of Crater Lake are fascinating to scientists. Hydrothermal, biological, and geological studies of the lake bottom were conducted with the Deep Rover Submersible. Deep Rover provides a rare opportunity for scientists to study and explore the hidden secrets of Crater Lake. Hydrothermal studies include the discovery of blue hydrothermal pools, stream-like channels, and spires on the lake floor. Biological studies include the discovery of bacteria colonies associated with hydrothermal fluids. Geologic studies help to expand our knowledge of the eruptive history of Mount Mazama and the bathymetry of Crater Lake.

Lake Facts

Crater Lake is filled with rain and melted snow that fell within the caldera basin. Its primary input is from annual precipitation in the region. Average annual precipitation is 168 cm (66 in); average annual snowfall is 13 m (44 ft). It took approximately 250 years for the lake to fill to today's level (~1,883 m or ~6,178 ft above sea level). The lake maintains its current level because the amount of rain and snowfall equals the evaporation and seepage rate.

Crater Lake is known to be the deepest lake in the United States and the seventh deepest in the world. The maximum depth of 589 m (1,932 ft) was established in 1959 by the USGS using sonar measurement. The maximum depth of 594 m (1,949 ft) was recorded at the time of the July 2000 multibeam survey. Since its primary input is from annual precipitation, the lake level fluctuates according to the climate in the region.

The record clarity of Crater Lake was measured at a depth of 41 m (134 ft) in August 1994. The lake clarity is measured with a secchi disk, a black and white disk lowered into the water with a cable. Its exceptional clarity is mainly due to its isolation from streams and rivers.


View Crater Lake from outer space. Aerial photos in this page are taken by NASA Space Shuttle. Astronaut photography of the Earth have occurred for more than 30 years. Astronauts are trained in scientific observations of ecological, geological, geographic, oceanographic, environmental, and meteorological phenomena as well as the usage of photographic equipment and techniques.


Definitions and landform features that range from easy to technical terms. Volcano terminology and landform features that are pertinent to Crater Lake.

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General Section

This section is focused for the general public who are more interested in the leisure readings about Crater Lake.

Topics covered in this section:


A series of beautiful scenic photos with brief explanations are provided for a virtual tour around Crater Lake.

The beauty of nature becomes more and more precious to us as civilization continues to grow. The experience we gain from exploring nature imprints a special memory within our heart. The experience is refreshing as we allow the serenity to regenerate our mind and soul. Nature allows us to expand our knowledge toward understanding the foundation of life, and directs our focus toward finding appreciation and happiness in life's simple things. Such a place can be found at Crater Lake, a rare place of tranquility that still remains in today's society of growing technologies.

Crater Lake is a beauty born from violent eruptions of spitting fires and rocks. The untamed and unaltered wilderness at Crater Lake is a place where we can seek adventures and an intimate experience. Crater Lake's radiant sapphire blue draws and holds the eye. The awe-inspiring serenity heightens our mystical awareness and curiosity. The lake has not always been this tranquil beauty we see today. Yesterday stood the mountain-high Mount Mazama..... Today stands the awe-inspiring beauty of Crater Lake..... Tomorrow is a wonder.

Cultural History

Crater Lake has a long history, from the Klamath Indians to the early explorers to today's scientific studies of the lake. The knowledge from studying and understanding the cultural history and origins of Crater Lake is crucial to keeping the tradition of Crater Lake's unique past alive for appreciation.

Klamath Indians Legend: Crater Lake was a place of mystery to the Klamath Indians. The Klamath Indians describe the catastropic eruption of Mount Mazama and the creation of Crater Lake in one of their legends. Their legend of a raging war between two great volcanoes, Mount Mazama and Mount Shasta, parallels the geological history of Crater Lake.

William Gladstone Steel is credited with the founding of Crater Lake National Park. His first glimpse of this exquisite beauty in 1885 inspired him to devote his life and fortune to set aside this scenery for all of us to enjoy. After 17 years of dedication and hard work, his dream came true when President Theodore Roosevelt signed the bill on May 22, 1902, to establish Crater Lake as the nation's sixth national park.


General Maps of Crater Lake. Location, road, and park maps are available here. Crater Lake National Park is located in southern Oregon. Nearby cities and airports include Eugene, Klamath Falls, and Medford.


The Food Chain -- Every living thing is essential to life on Earth. The ecosystem is built around the food chain. The food chain demonstrates the relationship of all the different life forms. The basic idea of the food chain is that the plants feed the herbivores, and the herbivores feed the carnivores. Animals that do not get eaten by anything else will eventually die and decay. The death and decay process puts nutrients back into the soil, and the plants grow and make their own food from these nutrients. The diversity of the plants and animals in the community helps to maintain the ecosystem.


How deep is Crater Lake?
The maximum depth of Crater Lake recorded at the time of the July 2000 multibeam survey was 594 m (1,949 ft).

Why is Crater Lake so blue?
The magnificent intense blue of Crater Lake is due to its great depth and clarity.

Does Crater Lake ever freeze?
Crater Lake rarely freezes over because its great depth acts as a heat reservoir.

How is air quality in the area?
On clear mornings, one can see as far as 241 km (150 mi).

Have you seen the wrecked helicopter that crashed and sank into Crater Lake about three years ago with two people aboard?
No, the scientists did not see any evidence of the helicopter.


A list of references and sources.

News and Reports -- New technology made Crater Lake famous to the public.

USGS Bibliography -- Published Reports on Crater Lake National Park, by U.S. Geological Survey Authors.

General Readings -- Books and articles that helped highlight my experience at Crater Lake National Park.

Other Links -- Try some other links about Crater Lake National Park.

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All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified.

Highlighted and (or) underlined terms are clickable and will take you to a new page. The footer symbol (footer image.) marks links to external web sites and selected pages that will open in a new window, with a few exceptions. Exceptions include but are not limited to the following: no footer symbol (footer image.) is placed before images and the signatures that have links to external web sites.

Thank You

Thank you for visiting the Crater Lake Data Clearinghouse website. The USGS and its partners designed this website for ease of use. Your feedback is encouraged. Please send your comments to Connie Hoong at, or click on Feedback at the bottom of each webpage to fill out the form.