Several lakes straddling the California–Oregon border are ephemeral. One of them, Goose Lake has a long history of filling and then drying out. In 2015, it disappeared again.
The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured these views of Goose Lake and the surrounding watershed. The lake was relatively full on June 3, 2013 (top), and then dry on June 25, 2015 (bottom). Turn on the image comparison tool to see the lake transform into a dry lakebed.
When full, Goose Lake has a surface area that spans about 375 square kilometers (145 square miles). Water is supplied primarily by California’s Willow Creek, which flows westward from the Warner Mountains; some water also comes from Oregon’s southward flowing Thomas Creek. The amount of water delivered by those rivers depends on precipitation and snowmelt, as well as the amount of water diverted to irrigate pastureland, hay, and crops. (Springs also feed some of the rivers.)
In years with low precipitation or drought conditions, the lake can have a lower water level and even dry up, as was the case this year. One of the more famous episodes of drying came in the 1920s. Dry conditions shrunk the lake to a point where previously inundated wagon tracks appeared on the exposed lake bed. Those tracks had been left decades earlier by gold seekers in the mid 1800s.
Lake Titicaca, at an elevation of 12,507 feet (3,812 meters) in the Andean Altiplano, is the highest large lake in the world. More than 120 miles long and 50 miles wide, it was the center of the Incan civilization, and today straddles the boundary between Peru and Bolivia.