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Canada Earth Science News

Canadian Island's Historic Hot Springs Dry Up After Earthquake 97

Posted by timothy
from the don't-keep-that-all-bottled-up-inside-you dept.
theshowmecanuck writes with this snippet from Canada's National Post: "Days after the remote B.C. archipelago of Haida Gwaii emerged virtually unscathed from Canada's second-strongest earthquake, locals discovered that the shifting earth had mysteriously switched off a centuries-old hot spring considered sacred by the Haida. ... A Parks Canada inspection party set out to investigate and stepped ashore to find that the island's three main hot spring pools, which once bubbled with water as warm as 77 Celsius, were bone dry. "Not even a small puddle," said Mr. Gladstone. Surrounding rocks, once warm to the touch, were cold." The earthquake measured 7.7 on the Richter scale."
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Canadian Island's Historic Hot Springs Dry Up After Earthquake

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  • by mfarah (231411) <miguel@COLAfarah.cl minus caffeine> on Saturday November 03, 2012 @10:05AM (#41864137) Homepage

    I live in Chile, one of the most earthquake-prone countries. Near my city there used to be a rather popular hot spring pools place *in the Andes Mountains* (not in a close-by valley), called "Baños Morales" ("Morales' [Thermal] Baths"). An earthquake in the '50s shifted plates and the hot springs completely dried up. The place still exists, but it's been abandoned.

    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Nice sig. That was one of my favorite shows growing up.
  • not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by v1 (525388) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @10:08AM (#41864149) Homepage Journal

    was going to happen eventually. Springs of any sort (hot or otherwise) are a bit of a fluke, it just takes nature awhile to correct them. Water's not supposed to flow uphill ;)

    Hot springs are going to be forming in volcanic active areas anyway, and those are going to be messing up the plates in their area, making earthquakes (even if only small ones) more common. So hot springs themselves should be considered very temporary by their very nature and design. A lot more temporary than say, a cold spring. We have a few of those here in Iowa, and I don't see an earthquake busting their pipes anytime soon out here.

    • "springs are going to be forming in volcanic active areas anyway, and those are going to be messing up the plates in their area, making earthquakes (even if only small ones) more common" You do realize that there is no shortage of water (hot or not) around islands in the ocean...
    • hears your challenge, and accepts your offer to bust your pipes

    • Well, excepting areas of long-lasting sustained volcanism, resurgent calderas like Yellowstone for example, which has been active for over a million years now in basically the same spot. On an individual basis springs probably come and go, how long they stay active is an interesting question; it's been looked into I'm sure.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hot springs are not a case of 'water flowing uphill'. Water under high pressure is heated due to a raised geothermal gradient (maybe due to magmatic intrustion or other volcanic processes). This heat increases the pressure further until the rock above fractures and cracks propagate upward to the surface. Then you're in business for a hot spring that can be continuously fed by the way the water table is setup, especially if there is an aquifer nearby. Earthquakes cause shifts in the water table and proba

  • by Chemisor (97276) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @10:26AM (#41864243)

    You should always call a professional to service your pool to avoid natural disasters. Why, only last week God tried to snake the drains on the sacred Haida hot springs, causing a 7.7 magnitude earthquake and completely draining the pools. Don't let this happen to you! Call Haida Pool Service to get the job done right! Proudly serving limbo and all 9 circles since 6000 BC.

  • If we're quick about it we can get the headlines to blame this on global warming! Perhaps we can blame it on Obama instead, that way we can blame both the left and the right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @10:38AM (#41864327)

    "The warriors poured brown salt into the sea from giant canoes, hoping to make chíin return.
    The raven , yáahl, was angered and dropped a stone into the water from hig in the sky.
    The ground shook like thunder and all the gifts of Jáadaa Gántl were taken away."

    • Wish I had mod points, you would get them all. Visited the springs on a Zodiac tour back in 2005. Southern Haida Gwaii is a magical place. By the time we got to the springs we were chilled, we took a dip, had a nice lunch at the Watchman's house and then had a nap in the tall grass. On the way back to the drop-in we had an encounter with a breaching whale. Will always remember that day.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Wish I had mod points, you would get them all. Visited the springs on a Zodiac tour back in 2005. Southern Haida Gwaii is a magical place

        Well, now it's a less magical place.

        • No, the springs magically went away.
        • by Sulphur (1548251)

          Wish I had mod points, you would get them all. Visited the springs on a Zodiac tour back in 2005. Southern Haida Gwaii is a magical place

          Well, now it's a less magical place.

          Vol De Mort.

        • Well, now it's a less magical place.

          The loss of the Springs doesn't diminish the experience I had on Haida Gwaii in anyway. Was lucky enough to experience a Haida wedding with full dress Haida dancers (Crow [spiritsoft...tcoast.com]). I also got to experience Tow Hill in Naikoon Provincial Park [vancouverisland.com]. The deep sea fishing expedition did not settle well with my inner ear, but I got to play a round of golf [massetbc.com] in one of the most North West [google.ca] regions of Canada.

  • I wonder if fracking would work to open the hot springs back up? After all a hot spring is nothing more than a place where cracks in the earth allow heat from below to travel farther up than normal towards the surface. If you were to gently frack the site you could create new channels and allow the heat to once more come back up close enough to heat the water.

    It would be an interesting experiment to say the least. If successful it could save the local economy.

    • Not much of a local economy to save. It's it the middle of nowhere. An occasional tourist I suppose, but since there isn't a McDonald's within 100 meters, it can be too significant.

      Fracking (injecting sand, soap and other miscellaneous and mysterious chemicals under pressure to open up tiny microfractures) isn't the technique you're looking for. Doesn't have nearly the power needed.

      Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by ColdWetDog (752185)

        urrrrr.

        in, not it

        can't not can

          INSUFFICIENT CAFFEINE TO CONTINUE. *** EMERGENCY STOP DETECTED. ***

        (Note to Slashdot programmers. If you allowed editing this sort of embarrassment wouldn't be necessary. WE WOULDN'T HAVE TO YELL.)

    • by mikael (484)

      Drilling a geothermal well would be the easiest solution - the hot water would just be needed to flow naturally rather than piped into a steam turbine/dynamo system.

    • A diesel powered pump and heater may be more practical.
  • Obviously (Score:4, Funny)

    by Progman3K (515744) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @10:53AM (#41864423)

    God is angry at Stephen Harper

  • Punishment for selling out to the ocean fertilization nut? Maybe the gods are not so crazy...

  • I joke, but I bet at least one hippie's gonna blame it.

    • Most tree-hugging dirt worshippers are smart enough to know that plate techtonics have been around much longer than the current bout of global warming... :)

  • I wonder what the chances are that this will cause pressure to build up underground and eventually explode.

  • by minstrelmike (1602771) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @12:30PM (#41865063)
    Perhaps this is how the Mayan end of times starts ;-)
  • Obviously this was the White man's fault and caused by global warming! Quick, send out a press release! Never miss an opportunity to blame the power elite!

    • by ScentCone (795499)
      PETA will demand a monument to the billions of microbes that died when the pools dried up. It's kind of their thing lately [redding.com].
      • by jgrahn (181062)

        PETA will demand a monument to the billions of microbes that died when the pools dried up.

        Seriously, there are rare and unusual ecosystems around hot springs. This incident might be a significant loss of biodiversity, unless hot springs are common in the area.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    People seem to forget that the earth is an extremely dynamic environment, where climate changes, geography changes, environment changes, life changes.

    Change is neither good nor bad and should be expected. It is natural.

    People seem to forget there are fossils of tropical plants in the high arctic -- I don't seem to remember if man was around with major civilization at that time. I also seem to remember the location of major cities were under 1 km of ice 13,000 years ago -- so receding glaciers is a bad thing

    • by mikael (484)

      Continents shuffled about a bit - at a rate of 5cm/year, one million year allows movement of 5km, a few billion years and anywhere at the equator and poles could get swapped around.

    • What about when it's not natural?
  • by Type44Q (1233630) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @03:18PM (#41866583)
    ...that heated water will find another path to the surface?
    • They know there's hot water down there, eventually someone will have the idea to drill down and let it out again.
  • I'm surprised no one has mentioned the obvious truth that the earthquake was caused by the HAARP project.

    It's all a plot to disrupt the huge tourist industry based on the hot springs.

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