Central New York, Environment, Things to do

What Makes Green Lakes Green?

By Sara Bonadies FAYETTEVILLE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – Green Lakes State Park is among one of the most popular outdoor destinations in Central New York. With hiking trails,  campsites, a beach and a golf course, the park is a hub for tourists and locals alike.

As its name would suggest, the state park is mostly recognized for its two colorful bodies of water — Green Lake and Round Lake. Both are among only about 50 of meromictic lakes in the world.

What is a Meromictic Lake? 

Meromictic is the natural condition that occurs when the upper and lower water levels of the lake don’t mix, causing sediment and other nutrients to not turn up. In order for this condition to occur, there must be differences in density and salinity between water levels, the lake must be deep, and its shoreline must be surrounded by trees; all three conditions work together to prevent the lake from mixing.

What makes the lake so green? 

The lack of turnover allows the sun’s blue and green wavelengths to pass well beyond the surface, which is the main reason for its distinctive tropical color.

Why is Green Lake so widely studied? 

Green Lake is one of the most widely studied lakes in Central New York. Because the lake does not mix, oxygen remains on the surface levels. Since decomposition requires oxygen, the lake’s conditions can preserve organic material in its depths from thousands of years ago.

To see the natural phenomenon at work, visit the lake yourself, or check out our 360 photos below.

360 View of Green Lake

Explore Green Lake with a 360 view 


360 View of Green Lake Trail

 Explore Green Lakes State Park trail with a 360 view