Photo Credit: Justin Renshaw/imgur.com
For as long as anyone can remember, something very perplexing has been happening at Lost Lake in central Oregon’s Willamette National Forest. The magical lake is disappearing down a mysterious hole, and it has residents stumped.
When winter arrives, nearby streams drain into the lake and cause it to fill with water. While that’s certainly not out of the ordinary, the lake goes under a rather strange transformation in the spring. As winter ends, it drains like one massive bathtub.
Willamette National Forest’s spokeswoman Jude McHugh says that the hole has always been there. As for its mystifying drainage, it’s most likely caused by the region’s spongy volcanic landscape. She also believes that Lost Lake’s opening is a lava tube that acts as a large drain.
Photo Credit: Ryan Brennecke via The Bulletin
Lava tubes are formed when flowing lava hardens near the surface but continues to flow downhill closer to the still-hot interior. If the interior lava flows out before hardening, it leaves behind a tunnel-like structure, known as a lava tube, that can be open to the surface immediately following an eruption or be opened to the sky through erosion.
But where the water goes after the lake is fully trained is what’s truly bewildering. It’s possible that it’s simply absorbed into the porous terrain.
McHugh says it’s not known whether the water flowing into the hole travels to an outlet, but it most likely seeps into the porous subsurface below, recharging the massive aquifer that feeds springs on both sides of the Cascades. She added that if anyone were to plug the hole, which she hopes no one would try to do, it would cause flooding.
Check it out on the YouTube video below: