The Devil’s Kettle Falls are in Minnesota USA and if you’ve been here then you will know how magnificent the area is. The Judge C.R. Magney State Park is a natural park filled with hills and valleys, stunning and sometimes weird rock formations, magical rivers, springs and canyons.
The State Park also has one more thing of magic. It has a waterfall that just disappears.
Waterfalls don’t just disappear do they? If you think of all the waterfalls that you have seen, they all flow down into something! It can be a river, a small pond, a dam, a rock formation such as a pothole, or even into the sea.
But this state park has a waterfall that doesn’t go anywhere. It lies side by side with another waterfall that goes down into the Brule River, but Devil’s Kettle – well – it just goes away. It disappears into a hole that has puzzled geologists for decades and no-one has yet worked out where it has gone.
You can visit the State Park and go hiking. The walks are seriously beautiful and many hikers specially make their way to the Devil’s Kettle Falls so they can try and see the waterfall that is there but not really there, and try and work out what happens to it.
Let’s be logical. The Brule River flows, like any river flows, at a good pace, through the park. At some point the River splits in two when it flows around a mass of rock. The rock is large enough to split a river. The Eastern split keeps going, goes down a 50 foot waterfall and then continues to flow. The Western split surges into a pothole and then disappears.
You can be cynical and say that the waterfall doesn’t just disappear. You can say that it goes down, deep into a pothole and underground. But nature tells you that any underground source of water has to pop up somewhere. Especially such a huge mass of water.
So, where does the waterfall pop up?
The answer is absolutely nowhere. It is one of those weird and mystical phenomena that not even a scientist can explain.
The giant pothole by the way is called the Devil’s Kettle. It is a very apt name. Is something sinister going on here? Or is this nature.
We have to say that of course it is nature. When people disappear, it is usually something sinister or other worldly. But a river? It’s underground of course.
But – is it? Geologists have been monitoring the river, the waterfall, the giant pothole and anything around it for years and years. They have done every single test in the world to try and understand where all this water goes. They have thrown things into the pothole to see where they pop up. They never pop up. They have poured dye into the pothole to see where the coloured water resurfaces. It does not resurface.
None of this would be a big deal because there are underground caves and underground springs. But underground caves are always in different rock types and formations. The ground in the Judge C.R. Magnet State Park is hard and not conducive to underground caves or springs.
One theory is that the water lies between a fault line which can happen. But there are no fault lines.
If you make your way to the Devil’s Kettle Falls you will be amazed at the size of the pothole and also at the strength and power that the water crashes into it. There are forces there that are astonishing forces of nature. You do not want to get close! It is wild and dangerous and the waters are the kind of water that you back away from immediately. The Devil? Pretty much so.
Locals in the area have many different theories some of which are other-worldly. Of course, these are local fables and we THINK could just by myths that local townsfolk like to think. Visiting these waterfalls and Devil’s Kettle has become somewhat of a tourist attraction and there are many different schools of thought. Perhaps scientists already know where the water is. Perhaps, as many have theorized, it actually pops up nearby in the same river, it is just not easy to see.
Perhaps the idea of mystery is alluring and good for tourism!
We think you should go and see for yourself. Get yourself a good pair of hiking boots, take a sun-hat and sunblock, carry plenty of water and a few snacks, and head out to the river and to the Devil’s Kettle Falls. Walk alongside the river and then watch it plunge down in two directions. See if you can come up with a good theory.
And whatever you do, make sure you come back. A missing river is enough; nobody wants missing people.