Greetings! We’ve both had a bit of a whirlwind year both in our professional and home lives, which has sadly cut into our blogging time. However, for the festive season, we thought we’d share a few snippets of our scientific year: the science we’ve been working on, the places we’ve been, and stuff we’ve just thought was cool. Each day we’ll share a new image (marked by the red number in the grid below) with a brief explanation of why . As Advent progresses, the calendar will fill up with the images we’ve already shared. Hopefully you enjoy these little tastes of what we do in our day jobs.
Update: Well, there was a slight decoupling between door number and day of December it went up towards the end there, but we made it! And our excuse is that when you have young children, even ones we can drag to see waterfalls (the ultimate combination of rocks and water) without too much complaining, Christmas week provides ample real-life distraction from the internet.
The Highly Allochthonous family at Chagrin Falls, Ohio, earlier this year. Not just a waterfall, but an urban waterfall – be still Anne’s beating heart!
From all the Highly Allochthonous family, we hope you had a fun festive season and wish you all the best for the New Year, when there may be a bit more blogging activity: we won’t make it a resolution, since we all know what happens to those on January 2nd..
Full entries for each day of Advent can be seen by clicking on the thumbnails in the calendar.
In fact, I was ahead of the curve in being fascinated by Lost Lake. I spent a chunk of 2004 trying to measure the two streams flowing into Lost Lake and the change in volume of the lake itself. Lost Lake is what is known as a closed-basin lake, which means there aren’t any streams that carry water away from it. We think any streams that once drained the lake were covered by lava flows a few thousand years ago. Since there aren’t any streams that leave the lake, any water that comes in has to leave either by evaporation or groundwater recharge (both via the holes and through slower infiltration into the sediments). If we measure as many inputs and outputs as possible, we can compute a water budget for the lake, just like balancing your checkbook.
Unfortunately, I never finished working up the data, so I can’t give you the answer of how much water disappears down those holes. But watching those videos from this summer, I’m not sure my 2004 data would have told us the same story as this year. I think the lake held more water in 2004, because the holes were much more plugged up than they are now. The holes being more pluggedh corresponds with the story in the video about some well-meaning (but vandalous) visitors throwing trash and dirt into the holes, which is story that was told when I was working there. There were even a few worried mutters about what would happen if Lost Lake stopped draining, because then it could cause flooding of US highway 20, which is a major route across the Cascades and runs along the lakeshore.
Here’s what the main hole looked like when I was wandering Lost Lake’s shores:
Lost Lake sinkhole, as it appeared in September 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.
View from the shore of the Lost Lake sinkhole, as it appeared in September 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.
Here are a few more beauty of shots of Lost Lake. I don’t think it’s revealed all of its mysteries to us yet.
Lost Lake, from the northeast, as it appeared in June 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.
The Lost Lake Cinder cones that produced the flows that probably dammed the paleo-stream that once drained Lost Lake. June 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.
Lost Lake,somewhat fuller in June 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.
Lost Lake, looking northeast, as it appeared in September 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.
Lost Lake, looking southwest, as it appeared in September 2004. This is like the direction that the groundwater flows. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.
The shoreline of Lost Lake in June 2004. Photo by A. Jefferson, all rights reserved.
I know a few other lakes in the area that pull their own disappearing acts but have yet to be featured in a viral video, but I won’t steal the spotlight from Lost Lake, with its charismatic sinkholes and easy accessibility. Instead, I’ll hope that the video viewers and lake visitors use Lost Lake’s hole as a chance to contemplate the connections between surface and groundwater and how what we do at the surface can affect water quantity and quality miles away.
(Actually, the last two weeks, because we got busy and didn’t post last week. But we have good excuses, as Chris had his first PhD student pass his oral exams and proceed to candidacy and Anne had two papers accepted. Even better, we’ve got twice the Twitter-y goodness for you this week.)