Giant Lake Returns 130 Years After Vanishing

By Mike Fishmore | April 24, 2024

Fresh water

In California's San Joaquin Valley, Tulare Lake was formerly one of the largest freshwater bodies in the United States. However, approximately 130 years ago, it vanished, primarily because of the avarice of settlers who drained the water to establish farmland.
 

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During the late 1800s, Tulare stretched over 100 miles in length and 30 miles in width, earning the title of being the “the largest body of fresh water west of the Mississippi River,” as detailed by Vivian Underhill from Northeastern University in a press statement.
 

Significant volume

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During that era, the lake held such a significant volume of water that a steamship could navigate through it with “agricultural supplies from the Bakersfield area to Fresno (in the central San Joaquin Valley) and then to San Francisco.” She mentioned that the distance was nearly 300 miles.