Nothing spurs the imagination quite so much as an unsolved geological mystery, and there are plenty of these to be found in all corners of the world.
One such phenomenon is located in Judge C.R. Magney State Park in Minnesota, USA, where the Brule River flows towards Lake Superior. Follow the river on its meandering way and you will find a split, forming a pair of waterfalls. The eastern cascade flows into a pool before continuing on its way to the lake. The western waterfall, however, plummets into a wide hole in the rock, disappearing from view. This has come to be known as the Devil’s Kettle.
You may be thinking that this does not sound much like a mystery, but what if nobody knew where the water actually went? There have been a number of possible answers offered: some have speculated that it empties into an underground river, hidden away in the depths, that then flows to Lake Superior, but no evidence of such a body of water has ever been found; some have suggested that the water goes into a volcanic tube, but these only exist in basalt, which is not present amongst the rock formations of Minnesota; a third idea is that it disappears into a fault line, but such a geological feature would have to be extremely large to allow that amount of water through it, and again there is no evidence supporting this.
Where scientific reasoning and testing has failed, people have gone back to basics, throwing items into the Devil’s Kettle in an attempt to track the course of the water and see where they emerge. From logs to ping pong balls, everything thrown in disappears into the void below and never reappears.
Never ones to let a mystery lie, scientists recently began to study the Devil’s Kettle again and, whilst there are no definitive results as yet, they have theorised that the water falling into the pit must be rejoining the Brule River somewhere further downstream.
Hydrologists have claimed that measuring the water volume both above and below the falls has shown them to be nearly identical, leading to the hypothesis that the water is still finding its way down via another route. So far, this has not been proven, as items and even dyes sent down into the depths have not resurfaced. The reasoning behind this, they claim, is that the Devil’s Kettle completely churns up everything that enters its vortex.
This may sound possible, but the lack of concrete evidence and the fact no pieces of the items have ever materialized leaves many still skeptical. If anything, it intensifies the supernatural element of the story when you consider that robust items fitted with tracking devices have vanished without a trace.
So, with a mind-blowing volume of water falling into it every minute of every day, the question of what happens inside the Devil’s Kettle continues to both intrigue the inquisitive and frustrate the scientific. If its secrets were never to be revealed, would that really be such a bad thing?