Land O’ Lakes

carezza-lake-reflection_73862_990x742Last month, a multinational team of scientists announced that they had determined the number and volume of the world’s many lakes for the first time ever. After analyzing reams of high-resolution satellite imagery, the team reported that there are more than 117 million lakes scattered across the globe, and that lakes cover approximately 3.7 percent of the Earth’s ice-free surface. You can learn more about their results here and here. Their census presumably still includes the Aral Sea, which is, despite its name, technically considered a lake. In fact, it was the fourth largest lake in the world as recently as the 1960s, but has shrunk to almost nothing over the past half-century or so. As you probably already guessed, the lake’s disappearance is largely the result of humanity’s unsustainable irrigation practices. Before you resume flogging yourself for our species’ wasteful ways, however, it is worth noting that some lakes disappear for reasons that have nothing to do with humans. For example, Mountain Lake in western Virginia, where Johnny once famously rescued Baby from a corner, is now completely empty and no one is entirely sure why. While you reflect on the transient nature of the world’s lakes, I encourage you to check out Bruce Springsteen’s haunting classic, “Spirit in the Night,” which describes a late-night visit to the mythical and mystical Greasy Lake. (Citation info for overhead banner can be found by clicking on the image or clicking here.)