Tales From Lake Whoa-Be-Gone | Science | Smithsonian

Tales From Lake Whoa-Be-Gone

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Park rangers for Chile's National Forestry Corporation (which sounds like a logging firm, but is actually a park ministry) were surprised when, as part of a routine check-up of their land, they discovered that a five-acre lake was missing, leaving only a few ice floes orphaned on a dry crater. This is not global warming (though it is the place for it, in southern Chile--think Patagonia). The lake is not receding. It vanished.  So where did it go? The reigning guesshypothesis is that some kind of geological anomaly caused a fissure that swallowed the lake (but not the ice?) into the belly of the Earth. One problem: no earthquake activity in that area. But maybe it's just a case of easy come, easy go. As a glacier expert pointed out to a Chilean newspaper, the lake didn't even exist until about 30 years ago. Naturally, science has a name for this: a "GLOF episode." Rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it? Such episodes have also happened in the Andes and Himalayas. Stay tuned.
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