A Truly Unique Ecosystem 

If you were to get a glimpse of the Klamath Basin from thousands of years ago, you might be amazed at how different it looks compared to today, and all the changes the area has gone through have helped create one of the most unique ecosystems in the world. 

There was once a time when the Klamath Basin was mostly covered by a large, expansive lake named Lake Modoc, which spread 1,100 square miles and was 10 times the size of the present-day Klamath Lake. This massive lake acted as a natural landfill—the eroded materials along its shores were washed into the water and carried out by streams that were laden with glacial till. About 11,000 years ago, the climate began to change and Lake Modoc eventually receded, leaving behind many of the lakes, rivers, and valleys that make up the Klamath Basin that we know today. 

The backdrop to this massive lake was large, active volcanoes such as Mt. McLoughlin and Mt. Mazama. During this time, Mt. Mazama was one of the largest volcanoes in the area with a peak elevation of 12,000 feet. However, much like Lake Modoc, Mt. Mazama would soon look very different. 

Just shy of 8,000 years ago, the large, imposing Mt. Mazama and the area surrounding it was forever altered by a series of explosive, volcanic eruptions. These fiery explosions completely emptied the magma chamber under the volcano, causing the mountain to collapse and form a large crater that would soon fill with water and become one of the deepest and purest lakes in the world—Crater Lake. 

This beautiful, pristine lake and its firey past are at the center of the beautiful, unique ecosystem that now exists in the Klamath Basin. 

The ash and sediment from the eruption of Mt. Mazama were scattered far and wide, and much of it settled right on the floor of the Klamath Basin. These thick layers of volcanic residue served as the foundation for the rich mineral-rich soil that resides under Klamath Lake and provides the nutrient-rich ecosystem that organic Wild Microalgae® needs to flourish. 

In addition to contributing to the nutrient-rich soil found in the area, Crater Lake itself plays an important role in the aquatic ecosystems in the area, including the only lake in the world where organic Wild Microalgae grows in abundance—Klamath Lake.

Although it is officially considered a lake, Klamath Lake is actually more like a river. With eight major tributaries and dozens of underground streams, billions of gallons of water are moving through the lake on a regular basis. The headwaters for many of the tributaries that connect to the lake originate from the clean, pure water of Crater Lake. 

Today, the pristine waters provided by the Crater Lake watershed and the nutrient-rich soil provided thousands of years ago by the eruption of Mt. Mazama combine to create a one-of-a-kind ecosystem that provides organic Wild Microalgae with everything it needs to thrive. 

If you’d like to learn more about the unique ecosystem of the Klamath Basin, and the many natural wonders found here, you can watch the replay of our recent Virtual Eco Tour over on the New Earth YouTube Channel.