Saturday, September 17, 2016

Geo 893: A New Drain for Lost Lake

When I looked up from peering into Lost Lake's "drain hole" yesterday, Hollie and Gary had wandered over to another hole- this one still actively draining the edge of the lake. They had been up here the previous summer, and assured me it was new in the past year. Cool!

Many the the articles I've read since this spot hit public awareness have well over-stepped the edges of what we actually know about what's going on here. They've confidently claimed there's a lava tube here. The are tubes in the area, and that's certainly a possibility, but I saw nothing that I would say is good evidence of one here. The bottom of both holes are rubble-choked, and both are relatively shallow. Articles have claimed there are vast "underground rivers." This reflects a common misunderstanding about groundwater: most often (except in karst terrain) the water travels in pore spaces and fractures between the fragments that make up the rock or aggregate, rather than in one or more defined channels, which are intrinsic in the concept of "river."

To me, this type of reporting doesn't seem so much "sensationalist" as it does "poorly informed." I don't know that either is better or worse, but the latter seems more tolerable in my mind, since I can add corrections in posts like this. The former just exasperates me. The world we live in is an amazing and astonishing place. Reporters don't need to add fireworks, bells, and whistles to make it more so- in fact, that behavior distracts from the wonders in front of our faces.

Photo unmodified. September 7, 2016. ZoomEarth location. (Location approximate- can't resolve hole.)

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