Cauldron Lake is a caldera lake in the western vastlands of Marsilon, located in the High Cascades mountain range. It is known for its deep blue color and water clarity. The lake partly fills a nearly 2,200-foot-deep caldera that was formed around 8,000 years ago by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. There are no rivers flowing into or out of the lake; the evaporation is compensated for by rain and snowfall. At 1,943 feet, the lake is said to be the deepest in Marsilon.
Cauldron Lake is also known for the “Old Man of the Lake”, a full-sized tree which is now a stump that has been bobbing vertically in the lake for over a century. The low temperature of the water has slowed the decomposition of the wood, hence the longevity of the bobbing tree.
Two islands are in Cauldron Lake; Wizard Island formed from a cinder cone that erupted after Cauldron Lake began to fill with water, and the smaller Phantom Ship has seven different trees living on it. There are also colonies of violet green swallows and several varieties of wildflowers and lichens living there.
While having no indigenous fish population, the lake was stocked for years by the second Lord Mayor, who was an avid fisherman, with little success. Two species have formed self-sustaining populations, Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon.
Cauldron Lake was discovered by scouts from Cumerin 162-years ago. The local orcs have known of it since its origins, nearly 8,000 years ago.
Dimensions and Depth
The lake is 5 by 6 miles across, with a caldera rim ranging in elevation from 7,000 to 8,000 feet and an average lake depth of 1,148 feet. The lake’s maximum depth has been measured at 1,949 feet, which fluctuates slightly as the weather changes. On the basis of maximum depth, Cauldron Lake is the deepest in Marsilon.
Cauldron Lake has an extremely rare and unusual climate for its location owing to its high altitude and the influence of the Pacific Sea winds. In the summer, the weather is mild and dry. In the winter, the weather is moderate but cold and subject to enormous snowfalls averaging more than 40-feet per year and snow cover averaging eleven and a half feet. This snow does not usually melt until mid-summer, and allows for substantial glaciers on adjacent mountains. It is not uncommon for snow to fall as late as June or as early as September. It is rare and unusual for Cauldron Lake to freeze over, and that last occurred 66-years ago. Partial freezing does occur but it is tempered by the heat beneath the lake and the moderate winter temperatures of the region. The warm summer temperatures have typically cleared the snow has completely by August, but hard frost is possible even into the summer.
Temperatures in the area average a low of -17 degrees in high winter and average high of 70 degrees at the height of summer.
Due to several unique factors, mainly that the lake has no inlets or tributaries, the waters of Cauldron Lake are very pure and have few pollutants. Though, there are high levels of salt and a high alkalinity to the water. This results in amazing clarity in the water to depths in the 80 to 115-foot range.
The Kelmeth tribe of Orcs, who may have witnessed the collapse of Mount Mazama and the formation of Cauldron Lake, have long regarded the lake as a sacred site. Their legends tell of a battle between the angels Skiel and Laloal. Mount Mazama was destroyed in the battle, creating Cauldron and trapping Laloal beneath. The Klamath people use Cauldron Lake in vision quests, which often involve climbing the caldera walls and other dangerous tasks. Those who are successful in such quests are often regarded as having more spiritual powers. The tribe still holds Cauldron Lake in high regard as a spiritual site.