Disappearing lakes?

  1. The strange case of the lake that simply disappeared overnight

    By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
    20 June 2004


    One day there was a lake and the next - well, there wasn't any more. For the past 20 years, several hundred homeowners in the outlying suburban community of Wildwood, outside St Louis, Missouri, have prided themselves on their waterfront properties on the edge of Lake Chesterfield.

    But last week their dream drained away to mud, a few dead fish and soggy nothingness. The karst, or porous limestone at the bed of the lake, developed a sudden 50ft crack and - wallop - the 23-acre lake drained away like a bath with the plug yanked out.

    The case of the mysterious disappearing lake promptly hit the "fancy that" columns of American newspapers, with morning coffee-drinkers across the country having a good chortle at the thought of homeowners facing the prospect of plummeting property values, not to mention the stink where their ready-made outdoor swimming pool used to be.

    But the strangest part of the story may be yet to come. It turns out that bodies of water in North America spring leaks all the time - especially in karst-rich Missouri. Just up the road from Wildwood, in St Charles, is the HQ of a firm called Strata Services. Its motto: "Leaky lake? We fix them!"

    Strata's chief geologist, David Taylor, concluded Lake Chesterfield was eminently repairable - probably with some judiciously poured concrete to eliminate the crack caused by excess rainfall. The cost will have to be borne by homeowners, but that has to be better than the prospect of explaining to would-be buyers of their properties that they now live on the shores of an ex-lake.
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    2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   Energizer Bunny
    Well, that's something I never thought I'd read about!
  4. by   VivaLasViejas
    This reminded me of a story told by one of the characters in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes:

    There was this lake in Georgia, where a flock of ducks had just landed, when suddenly the temperature dropped so fast that the lake froze over in minutes. The ducks were so frantic to escape that they took that lake with them as they rose into the sky and flew away. The lake is now somewhere in Alabama. :chuckle
  5. by   Audreyfay
    They should come to Wisconsin. We have lakes where there never were before!
  6. by   Tweety
    We had a lot of lakes dry up here in Florida but due to years of drought. They've bounced back as the drought has been relieved the last couple of years. But that's the first I've heard of lakes "springing a leak". Interesting.
  7. by   GPatty
    How strange!
  8. by   Saved_by_Grace
    :chuckle [font=lucida sans unicode]i thought of the fried green tomatoes story immediately too. i though it might be a joke until i read it through.....





    Quote from mjlrn97
    this reminded me of a story told by one of the characters in the movie fried green tomatoes:

    there was this lake in georgia, where a flock of ducks had just landed, when suddenly the temperature dropped so fast that the lake froze over in minutes. the ducks were so frantic to escape that they took that lake with them as they rose into the sky and flew away. the lake is now somewhere in alabama. :chuckle

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