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Information about lake morphometry (e.g., depth, volume, size, etc.) aids understanding of the physical and ecological dynamics of lakes, yet is often not readily available. The data needed to calculate measures of lake morphometry, particularly lake depth, are usually collected on a lake-by-lake basis and are difficult to obtain across broad regions. To span the gap between studies of individual lakes where detailed data exist and regional studies where access to useful data on lake depth is unavailable, we developed a method to predict maximum lake depth from the slope of the topography surrounding a lake. We use the National Elevation Dataset and the National Hydrography Dataset – Plus to estimate the percent slope of surrounding lakes and use this information to predict maximum lake depth. We also use field measured maximum lake depths from the US EPA's National Lakes Assessment to empirically adjust and cross-validate our predictions. We were able to predict maximum depth for ∼28,000 lakes in the Northeastern United States with an average cross-validated RMSE of 5.95 m and 5.09 m and average correlation of 0.82 and 0.69 for Hydrological Unit Code Regions 01 and 02, respectively. The depth predictions and the scripts are openly available as supplements to this manuscript.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0 License.