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What Is Oregon's "Old Man"?

There is a weather-beaten old tree stump that has been floating in Oregon's Crater Lake since 1896. Still bobbing vertically around the lake in 2016, this stump of a mountain hemlock tree is known as “The Old Man of the Lake” and it moves with the help of wind and lake currents. The low temperature of the water has slowed the decomposition of the wood, allowing it to reach the ripe old age of 120, and counting.

The top four feet (1.2 meters) of the tree stump have been bleached white and are partially covered with fontinalis, a moss typically found at much deeper water levels. The entire stump is believed to be about 30 feet (9.1 m) in length.

Facts about Oregon's Crater Lake:

  • Crater Lake, located in south-central Oregon, is famous for its deep blue color and the clarity of its water.
  • With a maximum depth of 1,949 feet (594 m), Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and the ninth deepest lake in the world.
  • American explorer John Wesley Hillman “discovered” the lake in 1853. He called it Deep Blue Lake. The lake had two other names -- Blue Lake and Lake Majesty – before finally becoming known as Crater Lake.
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