Apr 16, 2010

Devil's deepest hole

How flat is Florida?

Its highest point is 345 ft high, on the panhandle.

South of Okeechobee in the Everglades 3 feet above swamp grade is about as high as it gets.

We call those pinelands and hammocks.

But there is one deep spot, inconspicuous from view, only a few hundred feet across and in the heart of the swamp, called Deep Lake which drops 90 feet down.

It’s filled with water of course
(and gators).

How it formed or when it did so I’ve often wondered,
Now I think I have a clue …

Or at least a hypothesis.

North of Gainesville is precipitous hole of similar dimensions:
100 feet down, 500 feet across …

And completely dry.

(You can walk on a boardwalk to the bottom.)

By dry I mean it “not filled” with water.

Flowing in to it on all sides are tiny rivulets of water, twelve that I counted in all, that splitter and splatter from limerock to leaf to moss covered log eventually finding their way to the bottom of the hole where they then all flow to the same spot …

Then disappear.

The water dripping down is groundwater by the way … or mostly so.

(There are also ephemeral stream channels that feed it with fresh runoff after rains.)

Devil’s Millhopper is its God given name.

Geologically it’s categorized a sink hole,
And hydrologically better known as a swallet:

It doesn’t gush out water like a spring,
But just the opposite, swallows it whole instead.

To think how wrongheaded I was about Florida not having a single waterfall …

Here I unwittingly find 12 all in one spot.

Had only Ponce De Leon had as much luck with the Fountain of Youth!


otaku said...

I just visited the Millhopper last month. It's a real neat and unique Florida location. I wondered why it never filled with water.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

I'm curious to know how far down the water table is below the bottom of the Millhopper ... it can't be that much further.

Tabor said...

A swallet, I like that! A 100 foot dry hole in Florida? That in itself is amazing.

Amy said...

Devil's Millhopper! Love to stop by that place with visitors to the area. The first time I went was in the middle of a summer rainstorm and it was beautiful. The tiny waterfalls get pretty loud during summer rains.

I recommend going by it in the spring or summer when all the foliage is out. It's almost like being in a rainforest, surrounded by so many plants everywhere you look.

Carol said...

Looks like I need to make a trip there this summer.