(NEW YORK) — It’s not a magic trick but it sure seems like one.
A mysterious lake in Oregon fills up every winter and then as the season changes, water disappears through a 6-feet-wide hole on the shore, leaving the area dry before it later fills up again.
There’s a geological explanation for the phenomenon, which has been happening for as long as people can remember.
Lava tubes, which are tunnel-like structures created to drain lava from a volcano during an eruption, are abundant in the area.
After the lava flow stops, the underground conduits can harden leaving behind a long, cave-like system with an opening to the surface.
“It fills up in the winter, when input exceeds the rate of draining, and then it goes dry and it’s a meadow,” Jude McHugh, a spokeswoman for the Willamette National Forrest told the Bend Bulletin.
McHugh said it wasn’t clear where the water goes after traveling through the lava tube, but she told the newspaper it likely seeps into the subsurface, adding to an aquifier that feeds into springs on both sides of the Cascade mountain range.
Some locals have attempted to plug the hole, but McHugh said the efforts have been unsuccessful. Even if they succeeded, she said, it would mean the lake could flood, causing problems for a nearby road.
A few miles from the “Lost Lake,” a similar disappearing act is also pulled each year by “Fish Lake,” as water also slips through a lava tube as the seasons shift.
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