Lake With Liquid Asphalt Instead of Water
Let’s check out one interesting town surrounded by mountains and woods in upstate New York. This place sits right on a big lake, and the city is called Lake George. People like to come here to go fishing, boating, and take up other water activities.
You can meet many fishers, athletes, and a screaming man standing by the shore. Lake George is one of the most popular places in the northern part... Wait a minute. What? A screaming man? What does it mean?
Yeah, people come to the shore, look towards the lake and the mountains, and just scream loudly. It looks pretty weird from the outside. Here is a young guy screaming, then he leaves, and a girl stands in his place. She starts screaming, too, and then she offers you to do the same. Okay, you come to the spot where she was standing, turn towards the water, and shout. WOW!
The sound of your voice echoes back to you. You hear yourself as if the sound wave passed through a giant megaphone. Your scream sounds distorted. It’s unbelievable. You get closer to the shore and start screaming again. But this time, the magic is gone. You hear your usual scream. You return to that point, and here’s the sound of your cry rising to you again with an echo. But how does this happen? “Look where you’re standing,” the girl tells you.
You’re standing on a round concrete platform with an engraved image of a compass. Right on the compass, you see a blue map of the lake. In the center of this pattern, two compass lines intersect and form the X symbol. Anyone who stays in this exact spot and shouts towards the lake will hear an incredible echo of their voice. It’s as if your scream is coming back to you from another dimension. But the most exciting thing is that people standing nearby don’t hear it. They see you as just a screaming person with an ordinary voice. They can hear the echo only in this X spot.
Scientists still can’t explain this acoustic phenomenon or figure out the reason for this behavior of the sound waves. All they have is guesses and theories. The concrete platform is surrounded by a small curved wall from the lakeside. Some people think that your voice resonates from this wall and creates this sound effect. Many places have similar semicircular walls, but they can’t play such an acoustics trick.
Another theory says that mountains and water somehow create the echo effect. There’s also an old legend according to which a magical creature appeared at this spot. It shouted towards the water, and its wisdom has echoed throughout the lake ever since. I still think the sound resonates from the wall, but let’s move on. We have more places to go.
The next incredible location we’re gonna drop by is in California. Welcome to Lake Berryessa. Just stand on the shore and watch! Everything seems normal: beautiful nature, clean, calm water. But there’s a huge deep hole in this lake, into which millions of cubic feet of water are pouring per second. But don’t worry, this is not a natural anomaly or a tunnel to the underworld. It’s the “Glory Hole,” and people created it. Lake Berryessa is in the area where the farming town of Monticello used to stand.
In the last century, people built a dam next to the lake. During the rains, the water level rose and overflowed beyond the edges of the dam. To solve this problem, engineers built a vast hole. To give you an idea of how vast it is, imagine an ant standing on the edge of your bathtub with water flowing through the drain hole. The Glory Hole is as big for you as the drain hole would be for the ant. The water goes through a long horizontal tunnel and enters the nearest bay. The Glory Hole is a local attraction and a popular place for tourists.
Now let’s move to the Caribbean region for another fascinating location. Here, among the clear blue sea, you can find a unique lake on one of the dream-like islands. Its entire territory looks like a giant concrete platform. But don’t swim in it. Steam emanates from the lake’s surface because of high temperatures. Almost all the water here is liquid asphalt.
Pitch Lake is the largest asphalt deposit in the world. Its depth is 250 feet, which means that a passenger Boeing can fit there in an upright position. Scientists haven’t yet studied the lake thoroughly. They think there’s a fault in the Earth’s crust underneath it. Natural gases and oil pass through this crack and mix with water. Then, all this liquid goes through many chemical reactions and turns into asphalt. The lake contains about 10 million tons of hot material, according to rough estimates.
Theoretically, no life can exist in such conditions, but scientists discovered a colony of microbes there. This means that life outside of our planet can exist. Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, has many hydrocarbon lakes on its surface, similar to Pitch Lake. And if the simplest forms of life can exist here, in the asphalt lake, they may also survive on Titan.
Our next unusual lake is in a pretty unexpected place — in the driest region on Earth. And these are not hot dunes and lifeless plains. This region is in Antarctica. A dry area is not where it’s hot but where there’s almost no precipitation. The desert is not heat and sand but the absence of life. Some areas of Antarctica meet these two criteria. It’s so cold here that a mug of tea can freeze in a minute.
But the lake we want to see doesn’t freeze. Although, it’s not even a lake but a pond because of its tiny size and depth of several inches. It resembles a large puddle of icy water. It doesn’t freeze because Don Juan Pond is one of the saltiest reservoirs on the planet. Salt prevents water from turning into ice. But the most interesting thing is the lake’s origin. Scientists still don’t know how it appeared here.
Our next stop is in the southern part of Tunisia. In 2014, a strange lake appeared out of nowhere, right in the middle of the desert. No one knows when the lake was born since this part of the region is sparsely populated, and people don’t live in the area around the lake. Shepherds passing by were the first to have noticed the lake. They told the locals about it.
A few hours later, hundreds of people came to the place to swim in the clear, cool water. The lake became a popular place, but after a few days, something strange happened. The water turned dark green. The locals didn’t care about this and continued to bathe in the lake. But when scientists and geologists arrived at the place, they immediately declared that the water was dangerous.
They said the lake was stagnating. It didn’t refresh itself from underground streams, and the rains didn’t feed it either. The water became moldy and dirty and then turned green. The lake contained algae and a lot of harmful bacteria dangerous to the human body. Scientists also found out that the land in this region had phosphate deposits. This substance can decay and become radioactive. But the locals didn’t take the scientists’ words seriously. Just imagine that you’re wandering in the desert under the scorching sun and notice a cool green lake. Few people will refuse to jump in there. The origin of this lake remains a mystery.
Some experts think that heavy rains have filled a hole in the ground with water. Water has probably accumulated in the shadow of rocks surrounding the canyon. But another, more frightening theory says that an earthquake formed the lake. The seismic activity must have torn the Earth’s crust above the water table.
Then, underground springs spilled out of the depths and filled this crevice. This means that all the water that came here can pour back out. Imagine pulling the plug out of the drain hole in a bathtub. Any small earthquake can make the lake’s “plug” fly out. In this case, the gap can take all the water back underground. So let’s hope there won’t be any swimmers in the lake at that moment.