The ‘Lost Lake’ off Oregon’s Highway 20 has a deep, dark secret.
Most of the year, it looks like any other lake; peaceful and still.
But come winter, and a mysterious hole begins draining it of all its water, leaving a barren landscape that has baffled scientists for centuries.
Jude McHugh, spokeswoman with the Willamette National Forest, told the Bulletin, that the hole has been there as long as anyone can remember.
There appears to be a relatively simple explanation to how the water is being lost.
Geologists claim the area’s volcanic landscape is to blame for the lake’s rapid drainage.
They believe a lava tube beneath the lake formed when flowing lava hardened near the surface and flowed downwards.
As the eruption cooled, the hardened pipes emptied, leaving behind tubes in the form of vast tunnels.
Similar lava tube drain holes have been found at Fish Lake, only a few miles from Lost Lake near the junction of U.S. Highway 20 and state Highway, according to the Bulletin.
But what has stumped researchers is where exactly all this water goes.
McHugh claims it may seep into the porous subsurface underground, refilling the aquifer that feeds springs on of the Cascades. However, this has never been confirmed.
Now and again, locals will find strange objects in the lake, such as car parts, engines and other types of debris.
McHugh believes these are attempts to try and ‘plug the leak’, but warns this may simply lead to flooding of the local area.
‘If anyone was ever successful at plugging it, which we’re not sure they could do, it would just result in the lake flooding, and the road. It’s an important part of how the road was designed,’ she said.