Lake Mead is the largest man-made lake and reservoir in the United States. It is located on the Colorado River about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, in the states of Nevada and Arizona. Formed by water impounded by Hoover Dam, it extends 110 mi (180 km) behind the dam, holding approximately 28.5 million acre feet (35 km³) of water. The water held in Lake Mead is released to communities in southern California, via aqueducts, and Nevada.
Lake Mead The lake was named after Elwood Mead, who was commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from 1924 to 1936 during the planning and construction of the Boulder Canyon Project that created the dam and lake.
The Lake Mead National Recreation Area was established in 1964 and offers year-round recreation options.
The accumulated water from Hoover Dam forced the evacuation of several communities, most notably St. Thomas, Nevada, whose last resident left the town in 1938. The ruins of St. Thomas are sometimes visible when the water level in Lake Mead drops below normal.
Lake Mead as seen from the Hoover Dam clearly showing the bathtub ringThe 1983 high-water mark or "bathtub ring" is visible in many photos that show the shoreline of Lake Mead. Much of the vegetation, which was killed, has not recovered from the unusually high precipitation that the Western United States received in that 1982-1983 season as a result of an El Niño event. The bathtub ring is white because of the deposition of minerals on previously submerged surfaces.
Access from the northwest from Interstate 15 is through Valley of Fire State Park and the Moapa River Indian Reservation.
At the bottom of the lake is a B-29 Superfortress that crashed while performing secret experiments. It has been acknowledged that one of the then classified instruments on board used to take atmosphere measurements was called "Suntracker".
The lake is divided into several bodies. The large body closest to Hoover Dam is Boulder Basin. The narrow channel, known as The Narrows, connects Boulder Basin to Virgin Basin to the west. The Virgin River and Muddy River empty into Overton Arm, which is connected to the northern part of the Virgin Basin. The next basin to the west is Temple Basin, and following that is Gregg Basin.