|Primary inflows||Municipal water supply|
|Primary outflows||Sewer to Olentangy River|
|Basin countries||United States|
|Water volume||91,000 cubic feet (2,600 m3) |
|Surface elevation||738 ft (225 m)|
Mirror Lake is a small lake (pond) on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, United States. Historically, the lake was spring-fed, and sat on the property of William Neil in North Columbus (then a city of its own, which would later be annexed by Columbus). The trustees in charge of purchasing land for the new Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College (which would later become the Ohio State University) chose to purchase Mr. Neil's land after drinking from the spring. A German trustee reportedly stated "It's hard to get a Dutchman away from a spring like that." The spring dried up in 1891 when the city of Columbus struck the source of the spring while installing a trunk sewer line through campus. The water source was subsequently provided by the city of Columbus municipal water supply, at a new location on campus near the location of the original lake. Visitors, students, faculty, and staff enjoy the fountains that run in spring, summer, and autumn.
Light Up The Lake is an event hosted by The Ohio Staters Inc., a student organization at The Ohio State University, to kick off the holiday season. Students hang white seasonal lights throughout the Mirror Lake and Browning Amphitheatre area. A lighting ceremony takes place when the lights are turned on for the first time of the season, usually the week following Thanksgiving.
It is a tradition for students to jump into the lake around midnight on the Thursday night prior to the annual football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines. The modern tradition started in 1990 when members of the marching band led a parade of students on a traditional march around campus. At the end of the parade — at Mirror Lake — students made the first celebratory jump. While the jumps of the past few years have drawn crowds of several thousand, less than 100 people leaped into the lake in 1990. Approximately 12,000 people either jumped or were near the lake for the 2009 jump. However, with a change in the Big Ten scheduling to add a bye week to the season coming in 2010 puts the game on the Saturday during Thanksgiving weekend, threatening the tradition as the Thursday night prior to the game would be Thanksgiving. Students have suggested moving the jump to the Tuesday prior to the game to allow the jump to continue. As of November 23, 2010, the jump was on a Tuesday night for the first time and a dedicated following of six thousand fans before midnight (the jump takes place for most students between the hours of 10pm and 2am).
The Mirror Lake Jump event is not a university sponsored event, and people are encouraged not to participate by The Ohio State University. The event is usually associated with a variety of emergency room visits, and loss or destruction of property. At least one person has been paralyzed from an injury associated with Mirror Lake, although it was not the Mirror Lake Jump event. The 2010 Mirror Lake Jump was associated with approximately 25 trips to the emergency room for cuts, sprains, and other injuries. The 2004 Mirror Lake Jump was associated with at least three injuries. A study was conducted during one of the Mirror Lake Jumps where water samples were taken from the lake throughout the night. It was note worthy that the ammonia levels in the lake greatly increased throughout the night. This has been attributed to people urinating in the lake. There has also been concern that the lake may be a potential source for disease infection, salmonella is a concern. The Ohio State University usually spends approximately $20,000.00 cleaning up the landscape and property surrounding Mirror Lake after the jump event. Jumping into Mirror Lake is also a fourth-degree misdemeanor, however police acknowledge that they ignore this during jump events in order to focus on the safety of those present.
A notable non-Michigan game jump occurred on the night of May 1, 2011, when students jumped into the lake in spontaneous showing of patriotism in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden, announced on television at approximately 11:30 pm.
The Lake as seen from Thompson Library
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