Scientists Say They Have Solved Minnesota’s Devil’s Kettle Mystery
Scientists say they may have solved one of Minnesota's biggest natural mysteries - where the water of Devil's Kettle goes. The attraction, located in Judge C.R. Magney State Park on Minnesota's North Shore, is one of the park's biggest draws. Not far from Grand Marais, the Devil's Kettle waterfall is part of the Brule River; about a mile inland from Lake Superior.
For those who have never been there, the Brule River splits into two forks at one point. One of the forks tumbles into a normal waterfall with a drop of about 50 feet and then continues toward Lake Superior. The other fork falls into a large pothole, known as Devil's Kettle. For years, visitors and scientists alike have wondered what happens to the water that falls into Devil's Kettle.
As a report from the Minnesota DNR details, curiosity about the geological feature began with visitors tossing buoyant objects into the kettle to see where or if it would reappear. The thing is, these objects never reappeared. The report points out that one of the popular theories among the public is that the water remains underground until reaching Lake Superior. Scientists have said that the hard volcanic rock of the North Shore makes the likelihood of an underground river very low.
After conducting some water volume measurements along the river both before and after Devil's Kettle, they found something interesting. Hydrologist Jeff Green, part of the team studying the phenomenon, explained in the study report that the water volume didn't change. He said "The readings show no loss of water below the kettle, so it confirms the water is resurging in the stream below it."
Now that the team has confirmed that the water that flows into Devil's Kettle is somehow reconnecting with the Brule River, their next step is to find out where. They plan to do this with something called a "dye trace" in the fall of 2017. The trace will use a vegetable-based dye to look for where the water resurfaces.
What about the objects tossed into the kettle to try to track the flow of water? Calvin Alexander, another scientist working on the project, attributes the disappearance of these things to water force and fluid dynamics either destroying or holding these items underwater.