Home Science Mysterious hole is drinking Lost Lake of Oregon to avoid flooding

Mysterious hole is drinking Lost Lake of Oregon to avoid flooding


You will come across several quirky features in the landscape of the Cascades and Central Oregon. One of the weirdest of them is a hole; we are talking about the hole that at present is draining the Lost Lake just off the US Highway 20 close to the Hoodoo Ski Area.

This year, the area experienced a pretty low-snow winter; however, still Hoodoo was opened for just a few days. This is probably because waters from small streams are entering the Lost Lake and eventually disappearing down the huge hole on the north of the lake.

Jude McHugh, a spokesperson representing the Willamette National Forest, said that the hole is present at the lake’s north almost since the beginning of times. She added that the hole was formed due to an open lava tube. For those who don’t know: lava tube is a pretty common geographical feature of this part of the world.


As their names suggest, these tubes are formed due to hardening of flowing lava near the earth’s surface. Although the lava hardens the surface, it keeps on flowing downhill near the hot interior. The tunnel like structure called the lava tube is formed when lava from the hot interior flows out before reaching its solidified state.

At times lava tubes get opened to the surface right after an eruption; however, on other occasions they get opened to the sky as a result of erosion.

The Willamette National Forest spokesperson said that it cannot be confirmed whether waters entering the hole eventually travel towards an outlet. She informed that experts believe that the water that enters the hole gets absorbed by the spongy subsurface underneath; this action automatically recharges the huge aquifer responsible for feeding springs in the surrounding area of the Cascades.


McHugh further informed that the Fish Lake is home to a similar lava lake. The Fish Lake is located a few miles away from the Lost Lake; to be more precise, it is located close to the junction of the state Highway 126 and the US Highway 20. Both the Lost Lake and the Fish Lake have the same seasonal cycle.

McHugh said that as the Lost Lake, the Fish Lake also fills up during the winter months; this is because during this time of the year the water input tends to be more than the draining rate. Once the winter is over, the lake becomes dry and takes the shape of a meadow.

SOURCEBend Bulletin
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