How Common Are Muddy Lakes?

How Common Are Muddy Lakes?

How Common Are Muddy Lakes?

Here’s a clue: “Mud Lake” is the most common lake name in the U.S. Muddy, mucky lake bottoms are far more common than those with firm, sandy lakebeds.

In the eighteen- and nineteen-hundreds, when most U.S. lakes and ponds were being given English names, “mud” was a common term. And lakes were often named for a specific attribute. No surprise, there are at least 900 Mud Lakes.

The other most common lake names: about 400 “Long Lakes” and 400 “Twin Lakes,” and around 385 “Horseshoe Lakes” and “Round Lakes.” But “Mud” takes the prize — throughout the Midwest, New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, plus several in Canada; not counting all the lakes that were once named Mud Lake, but changed later.

Michigan, for example had at least 300 Mud Lakes, but 71 of them have been changed to more appealing names like Dream Lake, Loon Lake, and Lake Marina, to name a few. Barry County, the county I live, has five Mud Lakes — there used to be six (one is now renamed Chief Noonday Lake).

Wikipedia lists 35 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces with multiple lakes named for their muddy bottoms.

What Exactly Is Mud?

To soil scientists, mud is a derogatory term they don’t use.  They describe it simply as “wet soil,” (they don’t use the word “dirt” either). The more clay in the soil, the stickier it gets when wet and the more likely we are to call it mud. Alternatively, if it rains on a sandy beach, we call it “wet sand,” not mud.

Bottoms of ponds, lakes and rivers are, by definition, “wet.” The more clay, the softer and mushier it will be, and the more you’ll sink into the bottom. 

Apparently, a lot of people refer to soft bottoms as muddy, instead of mucky. I’ve had customers ask about getting “Mud mats” or “Mud pads” and assumed they meant “MuckMats.” But lately I started wondering if muddy was more commonly used than mucky.

I Googled: “mud” — and got over 700 million returns; “muck” got just 70 million. Of course, mud occurs both on land and in water, so it’s more common. But are those of us who say “muck” are in the minority?”  Well, there are over 900 “Mud Lakes” and I only found four “Muck Lakes,” and one “Muck Tavern” So, who knows? 

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