Central Oregon is home to Lost Lake, and the mysterious body of water certainly lives up to its name.
In the spring, snow-fed streams flow into the lake, which appears for a limited time only before disappearing once again. The reason is a metre-wide hole at its north end that constantly drains water into the earth. As the surging, seasonal run-off dies down, the lake vanishes once again to become a meadow.
The hole is a “lava tube”, created by lava that flows under the hardened top crust, creating tunnels under the earth. It is thought that the water flows into an underground aquafir, but could also possibly empty into nearby lakes.
In the past, efforts were made to plug the hole and preserve the lake for the summer months, but unfortunately this caused unforeseen problems. Jude McHugh, a representative of the Willamette National Forest organization explains that “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.”
So these days, folks in the area just enjoy Lost Lake for its temporary beauty, and gather once a year to watch the lake pull its spectacular vanishing act.