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Buckhorn Lake


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Not sure what the story is with this lake, but it sure fluctuates a lot! 

I was there in the late 90s and camped out to it, a beautiful blue lake right below Mt Buckhorn.  It must have been earlier in spring, because the lake was full.

This past weekend, at the end of summer, it is shrunk to a little pond.   I think it must fill up and then empty by the end of each summer...even the google map imagery shows it full:


My photo from the late 90s...must have been late spring:


(I loved that tent! I think it was a Northface Arrowhead. I wore it out.)




I assume this is normal/it has been like this? Also weird:  this site describes it as a "glacial fed lake". 


What glacier? 

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That is interesting. Caltopo has a daily satellite imagery... you could try tracking it.

I wonder if receding snow/galciers have exacerbated the yearly shrinkage. It is weird they call it glacial fed given your pictures and google map though. I would assume a glacial fed lake would have the characteristic suspended sediment.

I also wonder if a geologic shift has opened up more water flow to escape beneath the ground. Any earthquakes since that google imagery?

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Google Earth allows you to look through historic satellite imagery too.  In Sept 2009 the lake was pretty low but all other imagery from summer into fall had it fairly full.  I'm not familiar with the Buckhorn area but I'd imagine it slowly drains throughout the summer and in years with low precip such as this it winds up close to empty.  Interestingly in 2009 there was a relatively decent amount of rain in Seattle, maybe the Buckhorn area was heavily rainshadowed that year?

Here is a link to NWS Seattle's recent Twitter post about Seattle rainfall that I referenced.  




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The projections I saw are that the Olympic glaciers will be gone within a few decades. Their low elevation is a key factor. That will have a devastating effect on the forests and environment as snowmelt provides water through the dry months. We will likely see more fires and changes to the natural environment.

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