Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Mount Mazama and Crater Lake: growth and destruction of a cascade volcano

December 1, 2002

For more than 100 years, scientists have sought to unravel the remarkable story of Crater Lake’s formation. Before Crater Lake came into existence, a cluster of volcanoes dominated the landscape. This cluster, called Mount Mazama (for the Portland, Oregon, climbing club the Mazamas), was destroyed during an enormous explosive eruption 7,700 years ago. So much molten rock was expelled that the summit area collapsed during the eruption to form a large volcanic depression, or caldera. Subsequent smaller eruptions occurred as water began to fill the caldera to eventually form the deepest lake in the United States. Decades of detailed scientific studies of Mount Mazama and new maps of the floor of Crater Lake reveal stunning details of the volcano’s eruptive history and identify potential hazards from future eruptions and earthquakes. 

Citation Information

Publication Year 2002
Title Mount Mazama and Crater Lake: growth and destruction of a cascade volcano
DOI 10.3133/fs09202
Authors Edward P. Klimasauskas, Charles R. Bacon, Jim Alexander
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Fact Sheet
Series Number 092-02
Index ID fs09202
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Science Center

Related Content