- 30ft long tree in Oregon believed to be dislodged in a landslide years ago
- But no one is able to explain how The Old Man of the Lake is still floating
- Legend has it that the much-revered log even controls the weather
The 30ft long piece of ancient hemlock tree is known as The Old Man of the Lake
For over 100 years a tree trunk has been mysteriously floating upright in Oregon’s Crater Lake – and it’s baffling everybody.
The 30ft long piece of ancient hemlock tree has become so much of a celebrity in the area over the decades it’s known as The Old Man of the Lake.
The log was first reported on in 1902, the year Crater Lake was named a national park.
Geologist Joseph S. Diller recalled having spotted the wood six years previously.
Splintered and sun-bleached the Old Man, which is 2ft wide in diameter, floats 4ft above the water of the lake.
The log was first reported on in 1902, the year Crater Lake was named a national park. Splintered and sun-bleached it is 2ft wide in diameter and floats 4ft above the water
It’s believed the tree was initially dislodged during a landslide on the crater wall. It was pulled down into the lake and rocks wedged in an expansive root structure stabilized its base
Crater Lake is the ninth deepest lake in the world and is so deep the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty and Washington Monument could be stacked underneath the Old Man and they still wouldn’t touch the bottom.
Dated at 450 years, the barkless stump miraculously seems to defy the laws of physics – seemingly rooted but yet constantly moving.
In fact the tree has travelled thousands of miles since it was first seen.
Park naturalist John Doerr spent three months tracking its travel patterns in 1938, noting ‘the Old Man travels extensively and, at times, surprisingly fast’.
Between July 1 and Sept 30, the Old Man journeyed more than 62 miles and, on one particularly gusty day alone, traveled 3.8 miles.
Dated at 450 years the barkless stump miraculously seems to defy the laws of physics, seemingly rooted but yet constantly moving
Park naturalist John Doerr spent three months tracking its travel patterns, in 1938, noting ‘the Old Man travels extensively and, at times, surprisingly fast.’ Pictured: A 1938 sketch of the log
So impressed were locals with the log’s majesty that legend grew up around it that it controlled the weather.
In 1988, scientists who helicoptered a small submarine into the lake to study the geothermal activity decided the Old Man was a navigational hazard and tied it up near the uninhabited Wizard Island.
But the sky instantly grew black and a storm blew in, frightening the scientists who immediately released the Old Man.
And – as if by magic – the clouds cleared.
It’s believed the tree was initially dislodged during a landslide on the crater wall.
It was pulled down into the lake and rocks wedged in an expansive root structure that stabilized its base.
This version of events rings true for trees at Spirit Lake near Mount St. Helens after the 1980 volcanic eruption.
However, such pieces of timber would normally float for a number of years and then sink – a pattern the Old Man has not followed yet no one knows why. Nor has it eroded or disintegrated.
Ranger Dave Grimes believes the lake’s clean, cold water has helped preserve the tree while the higher density of the the submerged section of the wood has kept it balanced.
Tourists to Oregon now flock to see the unique phenomenon, with tour boats specially driving out to catch a glimpse of the Old Man.
‘He has character, a story, and history that is part of the park,’ Scott Girdner, an aquatic biologist with the park, told the National Parks Conservation Association.
‘For me, the Old Man is a calming presence. He is blown by the wind, but he’s not rocked by the waves.’
NATURE’S OTHER SURREAL SPECTACLES INCLUDE FLOWERING DESERTS AND RAINBOW TREES
Other incredible treasures planet Earth offers include underwater vortexes and an island dominated by 43million crabs.
And in Hawaii, there are kaleidoscope-coloured trees that look like works of art.
The spectacular effect is created when ‘rainbow’ eucalyptus trees shed their bark revealing green, orange and purple splashes beneath.
This area of over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns in Northern Ireland may look like a movie set, but is actually the result of an ancient volcanic eruption
You may imagine the world’s driest desert to be barren and lifeless – but during the rainy season a magical transformation brings the area to life. Every five to seven years the Atacama desert in Chile bursts with colour as the flora creates a stunning pink carpet
Christmas Island, Australia, is home to some of the most unique animals on the planet- and arguably the most spectacular crab migrations you can ever see. It is estimated that more than 43 million of the crabs inhabit the tiny island, their presence more obvious during breeding season when they head to the water’s edge to reproduce
These lakes may look like they are full of bizarre floating sea creatures, but they are actually filled with thousands of frozen bubbles. Snapped across Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, the natural wonders are made of highly flammable gas methane
This stunning aerial image appears to show an ‘underwater vortex’ in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Mauritius. Despite the appearance of an underwater waterfall along the coast of the tropical island, it is really an optical illusion which has been created by a run-off of sand and silt deposits
Kaleidoscopic hills: With its rolling hills, rocky peaks and multitude of colours, this terrain is positively other-worldly. However, the spectacular lunar landscape, found at the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park in Gansu Province, China, is actually the result of red sandstone and mineral deposits being laid down over 24 million years
A large circular submarine sinkhole simply called the Great Blue Hole exists off the coast of Belize and is a popular scuba diving site. The spectacular hole is over 300m across and 124m deep
These vibrant pictures from Hawaii looks like a work of art created by a painter with an eye for colour. In fact, it shows the spectacular effect created when ‘rainbow’ eucalyptus trees shed their bark, revealing bright splashes of green, orange and purple beneath