Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Lake Athabasca is located in the Northwest corner of Saskatchewan and the Northeast corner of Alberta between the 58° and 60° latitudes. The lake covers 7,850km², is 283 km long, has a maximum width of 50 km, and a maximum depth of 243 metres (797'), and holds 204,000,000,000 cubic meters of water, making it the largest and deepest lake in Saskatchewan. Water flows northward from the lake via the Slave River and Mackenzie River systems, eventually reaching the Arctic Ocean. Fort Chipewyan, the oldest European settlement in Alberta, is located on the small eastern shore of the lake, where Slave River begins its northward journey alongside the eastern boundary of Wood Buffalo National Park.
Uranium and gold mining along the northern shore resulted in the birth of Uranium City, Saskatchewan, which was home to the mine workers and their families. While the last mine closed in the 1980s, the effects of mining operations have heavily contaminated the northern shores.
The Lake Athabasca Sand Dunes, the largest active sand dunes in the world north of 58°, are adjacent to the southern shore. After a long struggle with government bureaucracy and opposition from mining companies, the dunes were designated a "Provincial Wilderness Park" in 1992.
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