NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY - FARGO, N D
DEVILS LAKE, NORTH DAKOTA
Devils Lake occupies a totally enclosed basin. Having no outlet, its lake levels respond to changes in regional climate. During periods of cooler, wetter climate, lake levels rise. During periods of warm, drier climate, lake levels decline. Geologists have studied changes in the levels of Devils Lake in order to trace changes in past and present climate.
Lake levels for Devils Lake are measured in terms of surface elevation. In 1880, the surface elevation was 1430 feet. By 1940, the surface had dropped to 1401 feet, during which time the lake was only about 3 feet deep. As this decline occurred, permanent settlement encroached further upon areas of the lake basin formerly occupied by water.
Since 1940, water levels in the basin have gradually risen. Increases in 1990's resulted in flooding of numerous homes, plus highways and associated municipal structures.
The LANDSAT image was taken in May 26, 1986, during a time when the lake level stood at 1428 feet.