Lake water color changes at Pyramid Lake in Nevada
The animation above shows NOAA-20 VIIRS true color imagery of Pyramid Lake (The Paiute tribe maintains a Pyramid Lake Twitter Account: Link) in western Nevada. The Lake was closed on 21 July 2020 because cyanotoxins released during a toxic algae bloom (link). The algae bloom is apparent before the lake closure on 21 July, as shown, for example in this Sentinel-2 image. The color change due to the algal bloom is obvious between 01 and 20 July, as shown below.
The algal bloom was followed by a ‘whiting’ event during which calcium carbonate precipitates into the water (link with description). On 1 August (below), that suspended calcium carbonate is apparent in far southern Pyramid Lake (Here is an image from 2 August, and here are photographs of the Lake from 5 August). The discoloration spreads slowly north, covering the entire lake by mid-August. The animation above shows swirls in both algae and turquoise waters that are related to surface currents in the lake. The shimmery turquoise color remains as of 3 September 2020. Check out VIIRS today daily into the future to see how the color changes.
Hat tip to Mike Stavish, SOO at WFO MFR for alerting us to this event!