Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/07/04/lake_mystery_cracked/

Chilean scientists crack lost lake mystery

Went down the plughole, as suspected

By Lester Haines

Posted in Science, 4th July 2007 08:59 GMT

Chilean scientists have confirmed suspicions that the missing lake which went awol in the Magallanes region of Patagonia simply drained away though a crack, Reuters reports.

Before and after photos of Chile's missing lake. Photos: CONAFThe lake, when last seen back in March, boasted a surface area of around four to five hectares (10-12 acres or around 10 soccer pitches). When a team from Chile's National Forestry Corporation CONAF paid a visit in May they were surprised to find it had "completely disappeared".

The truth has now been revealed. Scientists yesterday told Chilean media that "a build-up of water opened a crack in an ice wall along one side of the lake", and the contents then "flowed through the crack into a nearby fjord and from there into the sea, leaving behind a dry lake-bed littered with icebergs".

Glacier expert Andres Rivera, who visited the site as part of a "missing lakes" investigative team, happily reported: "It looks like it's slowly filling up with water again." He did, however, offer the traditional warning that the lake's escape was "evidence of the effects of global warming". ®