web analytics

Lost Lake Shrinking Down a Hold Every Summer in Oregon

lost lake

Image credit: A screenshot of the lava tube draining Lost Lake from a youtube video by Ryan Brennecke for The Bulletin

In the mountainous areas of Oregon, not far from the highway, people can see a shallow lake, which disappears once a year for the dry summer season, but regain its appearance during the wetter days. Being known as LostLake, its mysterious vanishing scene is mainly attributed to a lava tube.

Such amazing geographic features are produced as streaming lava become cool and hardened at the top while the hot insides beneath the surface keeps going downhill. The tunnel created afterwards might form a hole after an eruption or through erosion. Scattered all over the volcanic terrain of Central Oregon and the Cascade Range, there are many lava tubes, such as tiny ones in size of trash can or those big enough like a subway-tunnel, enabling people to walk through.

Covering the area of 0.34 square kilometers, several tiny streams drain into the LostLake, and they all flow into one (maybe two) of these big holes on the north side of the lake. Water begins with pouring during the period of the late autumn, and then keeps doing so during the rain and snowstorm days.

When talking of such phenomenon with The Bulletin of Bend, Oregon, Jude McHugh, spokeswoman for Willamette National Forest, said, it filled up in the winter, when input was exceeded the rate of draining, and then it became dry, turning into a meadow. Up to now, no body knows how long the hole has been there.

Here is the terrific video from The Bulletin showing that LostLake is funneling down the lava tube drain hole that is the only outlet known to the lake:

It is possible that LostLake took shape nearly 3,000 years ago, owing to lava coming from a volcanic vent hindered a river channel to form a lake. As McHugh said, it was located at the top of 12,000-year-old volcanic rock full of bubbles back when it was created. When the gas evaporated into the atmosphere, the pores were left behind alongside various cracks and fissures all over landscape.

It is not clear if the water flowing into the hole goes to an outlet, while McHugh thinks that it probably filter into the porous subsurface below, thus recharging the aquifer that feeds the springs on both sides of the Cascades. It could take more than ten years for the water to seep down through all such cracks and holes.

In her explanation of this phenomenon, McHugh said, Here and now in this part of the western Oregon, it popped out at the valley floor and provided drinking water and the vital living place for humans, fish as well as other kinds of species. That water that fell today would be necessary for some kid to be born tomorrow ten years later.

Source:  Live Sciencethe Bulletin

You May Also Like:

Emissions of Methane, a More Potent Greenhouse Gas Than CO2, Will Leap as Earth Warms
Satellite Image Reveals Massive Reduction of Air Pollution in US
Dolphins Form Complicated Social Networks
Divers Film Insane Underwater Earthquake Shaking The Seafloor