Lake Tahoe

Scientists Discover What Makes Lake Tahoe Blue

Jul 23, 2015
Tahoe Regional Planning Agency newsletter Tahoe In Depth

Scientists have long thought that the blueness of Lake Tahoe was due to the lake’s clarity. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, a new study shows that algae plays an important role.

For the past three years, UC Davis researchers have been measuring the degree of blueness in Lake Tahoe using a NASA research buoy. They compared those results with the lake’s clarity and found something surprising. 

Schadlow: “Clarity and blueness are controlled by very different things.” 

Amy Quinton / Capital Public Radio

An unmanned robotic submarine designed to explore Antarctica has taken a detour to Lake Tahoe. Its mission was to study the deepest earthquake fault line, more than 1,000 feet beneath the surface. It’s an area geologists had never seen before. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, they still haven’t.