How Big is Lake Mead? A Deep Dive into America Largest Reservoir


Lake Mead, with its expansive stretch of 120 miles (190 kilometers) and a surface area of 247 square miles (640 square kilometers), stands as one of America’s iconic reservoirs. Found nestled between Clark County, Nevada, and Mohave County, Arizona, it was birthed by the monumental Hoover Dam on the Colorado River 87 years ago.

  1. Location and Geography
  2. Summary of how big is lake mead
  3. A Historical Landmark
  4. Dimensions and Size
  5. Recent Water Level Updates
  6. How Does It Rank?
  7. Not Just Size, It’s Utility Too!
  8. The Road Ahead

Location and Geography

Spanning across two counties and states, Lake Mead’s geographical coordinates are 36.25°N latitude and 114.39°W longitude. This behemoth reservoir acts as a primary water source for many regions, receiving its inflow and outflow primarily from the Colorado River.

Summary of how big is lake mead

Feature Measurement
Location Clark County, NV & Mohave County, AZ
Maximum Length 120 mi (190 km)
Surface Area 247 sq mi (640 km2)
Maximum Depth 532 ft (162 m)
Water Volume 26,134,000 acre⋅ft (32.236 km3)
Shoreline Length 759 mi (1,221 km)
Elevation at full pool 1,229 ft (375 m)
Current water level 1,044 ft (318 meters, as of end 2022)

A Historical Landmark

Lake Mead’s inception dates back to September 30, 1935, when the waters began flooding the area post the completion of the Hoover Dam. Since then, it has played a pivotal role in the region’s hydroelectric power generation and water conservation.

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Dimensions and Size

  • Maximum Length: A staggering 120 miles (190 kilometers).
  • Surface Area: Encompasses a vast 247 square miles (640 square kilometers).
  • Maximum Depth: Dives deep down to 532 feet (162 meters).
  • Water Volume: Can hold up to 26,134,000 acre-feet (32.236 cubic kilometers) of water.
  • Shoreline Length: With its highly irregular outline, the shoreline measures an impressive 759 miles (1,221 kilometers).

Recent Water Level Updates

Recent years have seen Lake Mead’s water levels oscillating. 2022 witnessed an all-time low since its creation in 1935. Such fluctuations underscore the reservoir’s vulnerability to climatic changes and human consumption patterns.

How Does It Rank?

When you pit Lake Mead against other lakes in terms of area, it takes a commendable spot. Standing 26th in line with man-made reservoirs like Lake Powell and Toledo Bend Reservoir, its vastness is undeniable.

Not Just Size, It’s Utility Too!

Beyond its sheer dimensions, Lake Mead’s role as a significant water reservoir cannot be understated. Whether it’s providing water for irrigation, quenching the thirst of millions, or facilitating hydroelectric power generation, its importance in the Southwest U.S. remains paramount.

The Road Ahead

Though challenges like declining water levels loom large, Lake Mead’s significance in the tapestry of America’s geographical and historical landscape remains unchallenged. Conservation efforts and sustainable practices are crucial to ensuring its longevity.

1. Where is Lake Mead located?
It’s positioned between Clark County, Nevada, and Mohave County, Arizona.
2. What’s the maximum depth of Lake Mead?
The lake plunges to depths of up to 532 feet.
3. How was Lake Mead formed?
Lake Mead was formed due to the construction of the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River.
4. How significant is Lake Mead in terms of area among US lakes?
It ranks 26th among man-made reservoirs in the US.

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— by Ganesh Nayar