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Press Release 11-244

Evidence Emerges of Ancient Lake in California's Eel River

Ecological changes from lakebed may have led to two different populations of once-related steelhead trout

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Downstream view of the Eel River showing the reconstructed ancient lake surface in blue.

View down the Eel River, with the reconstructed ancient lake surface in blue.

Credit: Ben Mackey, Caltech


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Image showing Nefus Peak, the source of the ancient landslide that formed the lake.

Nefus Peak, the source of the ancient landslide that formed the lake.

Credit: Ben Mackey, Caltech


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Image showing the modern Eel River in blue and the landslide scar in black.

The modern Eel River is shown here, in blue. The landslide scar is visible in black.

Credit: Ben Mackey, Caltech


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Photo of the Eel River at the dam site.

The Eel River at the dam site. Much of the evidence for the dam has been eroded over time.

Credit: Ben Mackey, Caltech


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Photo of three rock samples of fine silt and mud that were collected upstream.

Fine silt and mud were found upstream, indicating sediments in the still waters of a lake.

Credit: Ben Mackey, Caltech


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Image of the lake's shore cut into opposite hillslope, forming broad, flat areas shown in contours.

The lake's shore cut into the opposite hillslope, forming broad, flat areas shown in contours.

Credit: Ben Mackey, Caltech


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