A visit to the Yukon is full of many unexpected discoveries–one of the most unusual being the turquoise hue of Kluane Lake. While many head to the Caribbean for its turquoise, few even know that Kluane National Park has such beautiful water.
According to NASA Science: “…the Caribbean Sea looks blue because the sunlight is scattered by the water molecules.” Lots of light enters the clean water of the Caribbean — it has few phytoplanton, or microalgae — and are absorbed in a unique way, plus the deeper the water, the more dispersed the light is shining on it.
But Kluane Lake doesn’t have a turquoise blue shade due to few phytoplankton or its depth. So, why does it look turquoise? Click on the tabs above to find out the answer!
Kluane Lake appears turquoise due to fine glacial silt suspended in the water, so when the sunlight enters the water its angle of refraction, or the way it bends, is changed. This makes the light that emerges turn aquamarine.
But you may be wondering about where the glacial silt comes from? Well, 82% of the surface of Kluane National Park, where you’ll find Kluane Lake, is made up of mountains and ice, or glaciers. In fact, there are even dust storms from the glacial silt!
The lake is Yukon’s largest (that’s totally in the territory) at around 408 square km or 158 square miles, and 81 km or 50 miles long. As you might expect, the water is very cold due to the ice fields around it. However, that makes it popular with fishing enthusiasts.
Kluane is one of Canada’s “trophy lakes” when it comes to fishing. If you dream of lake trout reaching massive sizes of up to 60 pounds (gee, I always thought I’d caught a big one with a two-pounder!), or Northern Pikes up to 25 pounds, then you’ll want to plan a visit!
The Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek, together form a UNESCO World Heritage site. The reason? The area is the world’s largest non-polar icefield and contains some of the most spectacular glaciers you’ll ever see.
Here’s a slideshow of some of my amazing adventure flying over them and here’s a link to the post.
Kluane’s mountains are also famous, with Mount Logan (5,959m, 19,545′) the highest in Canada and the second highest peak on the continent.
Interested in knowing more about the park? This article and quiz from Canoe has lots of great info.