Standing water is rather rare on the Kaibab Plateau. Surface water from snow melt and rain is mildly acidic and seeps through cracks and joints in the Kaibab limestone dissolving the rock and creating a cave under the surface. Then the surface area, lacking support, collapses and creates a sinkhole. Silt and clay flow into the lake sealing the sinkhole’s bottom and enable it to hold water. Yet there is often not enough precipitation to fill the lake.
The last time I stopped at Greenland Lake early in June 2014 there was no water so imagine my surprise when the lake looked full on May 30th. That’s a good sign we had a decent snow-pak this winter. My supervisor, who stays through the winter, said 11 feet on the ground at one time.
At one time cattle grazed here and a cabin to store salt is near the lake that would have provided intermittent water to the livestock. It’s only a 200 yard walk, past the lake to the cabin but instead I walked around the shoreline watching out for gopher mounds that can be a real ankle biter.
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