Unlocking the secret of the Vanishing Lake

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Unlocking the secret of the Vanishing Lake thumbnailThe vanishing lake can drain within days even though there are no rivers flowing out.

THE Vanishing Lake at Loughareema is not unlike a kitchen sink.....
It fills up with rainwater and drains through a plughole in the lake bed.
There's a hole in the bottom because it sits on chalk that's full of cracks and dissolves in prolonged contact with water.
But this GCSE-level geography won't cut it if you need to explain what really makes this mysterious site so remarkable.
For a start, it can fill up in hours but takes days to drain. And at the spot where the water finally emerges from deep below the Antrim Plateau, twice as much water appears to be coming out as is going in.
These are among the questions hydrogeologist Paul Wilson has been trying to solve. His fascination with Loughareema dates back to childhood but he has been studying the site seriously for the last two years for the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland.
“There are three questions," he says. "Where does the water go? Why is Loughareema where it is? And how does it work?
“It turns out the first was settled in the mid 90's by a geologist Steven Barnes, who added colouring to water disappearing down the lake's 'plughole.'


Subscribe to read full newspaper »

Send to a friend

Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.

In order to process your information we must ask you to enter the letters in the image into the box:

CAPTCHA Image play audio version Reload Image

* Mandatory field - please complete