Shasta looms majestically in the pure ether,
capped with a cloud,
against whose bosses the early sungold is beating…

– John Muir, 1877

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Lake Shasta, Mount Shasta, and The Trinity Alps

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Shasta Lake, also called Lake Shasta, is an artificial lake created by the construction of Shasta Dam across the Sacramento River in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest of Shasta County, California.

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Lake Shasta Boat Ramp

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Shasta Lake is a two-story impoundment and provides habitat for both warmwater and coldwater fishes. Habitat for coldwater fish species within the lake is considered good; however, habitat for warmwater fish species is limited by the lack of cover, steep-sided banks, and water level fluctuations.

Fish species within the lake are varied and abundant. Species known to inhabit the lake include: rainbow trout, brown trout, chinook salmon, largemouth bass, spotted bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, carp, Sacramento sucker, Sacramento squawfish, riffle sculpin, black fish, hardhead minnow, white sturgeon, channel squawfish, threadfin shad, white catfish, brown bullhead, golden shiner and green sunfish.

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Houseboat on Lake Shasta

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The basses and trout are the species most frequently caught by anglers. Even though there is some natural reproduction, the coldwater fish populations within the lake are largely maintained through Annual stocking by the California Department of Fish and Game. The warmwater fish populations are self-perpetuating.

Fishing Regulations:

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Lake Shasta morning

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Lake Shasta consists of four major arms: the Sacramento River, Pit River, Squaw Creek and McCloud River. The lake has 370 miles of shoreline and spans more than 30,000 acres. Anglers can fish its maximum depths that reach up to 500 feet.

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Grace Lake Shasta County

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Mount Shasta is one of the twenty or so large volcanic peaks that dominate the High Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest. These isolated peaks and the hundreds of smaller vents that are scattered between them lie about 200 kilometers east of the coast and trend southward from Mount Garibaldi in British Columbia to Mount Lassen in northern California

Mount Shasta stands near the southern end of the Cascades, about 65 kilometers south of the Oregon border. It is a prominent landmark not only because its summit stands at an elevation of 4,317 meters (14,162 feet), but also because its volume of nearly 500 cubic kilometers makes it the largest of the Cascade stratovolcanoes.

Mount Shasta is a compound stratovolcano that has been built by repeated eruptions during the past 200,000 years. Although the mountain itself is relatively young, it has been built atop older basalts and andesites whose ages indicate that volcanism has been taking place at the site of the present cone for at least the past 600,000 years.

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Mt. Shasta from Castle Lake

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Mount Shasta and its immediate surroundings are the products of several geological processes operating in concert. Volcanism has played a major role in shaping this landscape, and the variety of volcanic features found in the southern Cascades reflects the diversity of lavas and eruptive styles common to this region. Episodes of volcanism have alternated with intervals of erosion during which glaciers, streams, and mass movements such as rockfalls, debris flows, and debris avalanches have modified the original volcanic landforms.

Mount Shasta’s most recent eruption occurred about 200 years ago  and low-levels of geothermal and seismic activity still occur on and around the mountain today.

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Mount Shasta from Interstate 5

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The High Cascades is the younger of two volcanic mountain ranges that have risen parallel to the Pacific Northwest coast during the past 35 to 40 million years. The lofty stratovolcanoes that dominate the range are less than 2 million years old, but they stand atop a massive platform of basalts that has been built by eruptions from scores of vents during the past 12 million years. This entire suite of High Cascade rocks, in turn, overlies the eroded remnants of an older volcanic chain called the Western Cascades that was active between about 35 and 17 million years ago (McBirney and White, 1982). In order to understand why lavas have risen to build these volcanic mountains over tens of millions of years we need to review a bit about the concepts of plate tectonics and, in particular, the process of subduction.

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Mt. Shasta and Lenticular clouds

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You will often hear the expression, “Mount Shasta makes its own weather.” How can a mountain make its own weather? The main answer is that Mount Shasta’s presence causes air to be uplifted.

All precipitation comes from clouds. Clouds are formed through the process known as condensation, which is typically caused by cooling. Cooling, in turn, is often caused by the uplifting of air. There are four major processes by which air is uplifted: convective lifting, frontal lifting, convergent lifting, and orographic lifting. Convective summertime thunderstorms produce massive thunderheads on Mount Eddy and Mount Shasta. Wintertime extratropical cyclones produce most of the precipitation formed by frontal lifting in our region. It is the process of orographic lifting that results in Mount Shasta “producing its own weather.”

The term orographic comes from the Greek word oros, meaning mountain. Orographic lifting is caused when moving air (wind) encounters a mountain and is forced upwards in the process. The layer of air replaced at the surface causes the air above it to be lifted and cooled. If there is enough moisture in the air, the cooling will cause it to condense and form clouds. If further condensation occurs then orographic precipitation can be produced.

Mount Shasta is known for its beautiful clouds. The lenticular clouds, often called “flying saucers,” are probably the most well-known type of cloud in the region. However, there are many types of clouds that can be seen around Mount Shasta.

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Filed under California, Nature

2 responses to “Shasta.

  1. feckthisshit

    Spectacular Pictures!

  2. southwestdesertlover

    Thank you so much! :^)

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