Devil's Kettle: A Mysterious Waterfalls

12 comments

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The Devil's Kettle is a puzzling geological phenomenon located inside Judge C. R. Magney State Park in Minnesota, in USA, just off the North Shore of Lake Superior. As the Brule River makes it way through the park, it drops 800 feet in elevation and creates numerous waterfalls in the process. One of these waterfalls is quite special. About 2.4 km before the river empties into Lake Superior, it gets split in two by a rocky outcrop. The eastern part drops 50 feet below and continues towards Lake Superior. The western part falls 10 feet into a giant pothole - the Devil's Kettle - and disappears. Nobody knows where the water goes. It is believed there must be an exit point somewhere beneath Lake Superior, but it has never been located. Over the years, researchers have dropped brightly colored dyes, ping pong balls, and other objects into the Devil's Kettle. So far, none has ever been found.

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Photo credit

One theory is that the river flows along an underground fault and comes out somewhere under Lake Superior. This is unlikely, because for this to happen, the fault would have to be precisely oriented towards the lake, and would have to be large enough to allow the flow of half the river. Even if such a fault exist, it would have likely been clogged over the years as rocks, sand, logs and other materials fell into the kettle. Besides, there is no evidence of such a fault in the area.

Another theory is millions of years ago a lava tube formed when the rocks first solidified. The problem with this theory is that the rock at Devil’s Kettle waterfalls is rhyolite, and lava tubes never form in rhyolite. Lava tubes form in basalt flowing down the slopes of volcanoes, and the nearest basalt layer to Devil’s Kettle is located much too far underground to be any kind of factor in the mystery. The existence of a large underground cave is also ruled out because underground caves form in limestone rock, and there are no limestone in the area.

The mystery is compounded by the fact no floating debris suddenly appearing at one spot offshore in Lake Superior has ever been reported.

Also see: The Witch's Well in Tuhala

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The top of Devil's Kettle. Photo credit

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Photo credit

Sources: MNN / Wikipedia / Science Buzz

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12 comments:

  1. Makes you wonder why any Geologists haven't dropped a GPS tracker into it. That would solve the mystery pretty quickly i would think.

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    1. Hos needs to be in contact eith sattelites. How do you do that hundreds of meters underground???

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  2. Probably because standard GPS trackers aren't waterproof, run on electricity, and transmit their position using an aerial. They don't work indoors and if you drop them out of an upstairs window, they break.

    What you would need is a ruggedized GPS tracker strong enough to continue working if it was bashed around on rocks by strong water pressure for several weeks (in an environment which apparently destroyed all the ping-pong balls). It would need to be waterproof to some depth. It would need a big enough battery to allow it to go on transmitting for many weeks, and big enough aerials to receive and transmit from tens of metres below the ground, yet be small enough to pass through twisty rock passages and smooth enough not to get caught on any rocks. It would have to be light enough not to simply sink to the bottom of the initial waterfall and go no further, but not so buyant that it floated to the surface of the first cave and was carried no further.

    And the grant proposal to fund all this will need to have a better reason than "to find out where it goes".

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    1. Geez, relax Dr Expert.

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    2. It can be done. Trackers are used in marine life all the time... Just sayin ;)

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  3. Echo location...could they try that

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  4. Why don't they just put a temporary dam to block the water from going down the hole and then send a few people in?

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  5. It can be tracked couloring the water

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    1. Yeah no it can't they tried that already

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  6. Marine trackers seem like an obvious idea. Tag a few fish from the river and lower them down. It looks like a pretty little pond in some parts of the photos. They might get adventurous if they get bored. Or just tag a freshwater shark and throw him in after them...

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  7. Why dont try a waterproof spy camera and a GPS tracker? i dont get this.

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