The mystery of Minnesota's Devil's Kettle has been solved

Scientists figured out where the river disappears to.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Mystery solved.

Hydrologists with the Minnesota DNR say they've solved the mystery of Minnesota's disappearing river.

The Devil's Kettle waterfall is located on the Brule River, and is the most visited attraction at Judge C.R. Magney State Park near Grand Marais. That's because half the river seems to disappear, and no one can figure out where the water ends up.

If you've never been, let us explain: Just above the falls, the river splits in half. The east side (or the right side of the river in the photo above) acts like a regular waterfall. But the west side is where things get interesting – the water drops into a huge hole in the rocks.

Visitors have thrown sticks or other things down the hole to see if it would show up downstream. Nothing ever did. The DNR says some have thought the stream of water took an underground route out to Lake Superior, but that's not the case.

Hydrologists' theory is the water that enters Devil's Kettle resurfaces downstream somewhere. So they tested this last fall by measuring water flow. You can read all about the science of this here, but basically they found that the water flow above Devil's Kettle and several hundred feet below the waterfall was essentially the same.

This proves the water that enters Devil's Kettle resurges in the river below, DNR spring-shed mapping hydrologist Jeff Green said.

Exactly where the water resurges into the river isn't known, yet. This fall (when the water flow is low), they'll dump a biodegradable dye into the hole, which should show them where the Devil's Kettle stream joins back with the Brule River.

What about all those sticks?

But if the water doesn't just disappear, what happens to all those sticks people drop down the hole?

Well, they disintegrate, Calvin Alexander, who works with Green, says. The water below the kettle is "unbelievably powerful," holding the objects under water and destroying them.

The DNR says this won't happen to the dye they put down the hole, though.

Next Up

ambulance, crash

Baby dies, 5 injured when SUV flips over fence onto I-94 in Brooklyn Center

Alcohol was detected on the driver, according to the State Patrol.

minneapolis police

Police say officers were shot at in north Minneapolis

Officers were checking into a suspicious activity report when gunfire erupted.

5266815680_05d882aa85_h

Walmart to mandate COVID vaccine for some managers, corporate employees

The company will also reinstate mask mandates for employees in high-transmission areas.

Minneapolis police

Driver plows into crowd after downtown Minneapolis brawl

Two suspects have reportedly been identified.

Jorge Alcala

Rare night for Twins' bullpen fuels victory over Cardinals

The Twins scored five runs in the third inning in an 8-1 victory.

Bisi Johnson

Report: Bisi Johnson tears ACL, will miss 2021 season

Johnson suffered the injury during Friday's practice.

Mike Zimmer

Frustrated Zimmer sounds off after Vikings' positive COVID test

"I’m frustrated, not just with my football players who didn’t get vaccinated, but I’m frustrated with everybody [who didn't]."

Kirk Cousins

Report: Kellen Mond has COVID, Cousins among players out of practice

The team is scheduled to practice on Saturday night.

USPS packages

Two Ramsey County men sentenced in mail theft scheme

Sonny Vang Xiong was sentenced to three years in prison, while Davis Her was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.

Jeff Gladney

Jeff Gladney's ex-girlfriend files $1 million civil lawsuit

The civil lawsuit accuses Gladney of assaulting the woman for over two hours.

Related

The mystery of Minnesota's Devil's Kettle has been solved

Scientists figured out where the river disappears to.

The country's best botanical garden is right here in Minnesota

In your face New York! Minnesota is number one.

Canoe carrying three fisherman sinks on MN lake, one drowns

There have been nine boating deaths on Minnesota waters this year.

This freakish monster catfish came from a Minnesota river

Erm, it's ok, I don't need to go swimming right now.

This freakish monster catfish came from a Minnesota river

Erm, it's ok, I don't need to go swimming right now.