Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Season Kicks Off & Lake Update

Greetings! It's been quite a while since our last post and we are back on the blog for the summer season. Yet again, we are reminded of why Mountain Lake is such a wonderful place to be during this time of year. Cool mountain breezes, waist-high, fern-lined trails, and family & friends relaxing and enjoying quality time spent together!

Lake Update

We saw an initially slow rise during the spring season of water in the lake, and are now seeing fluctuating water levels that are very responsive to rainfall and temperatures. Currently, the lake is still low and several feet from the floating "T-dock" down by the water. A team of scientists from Radford University has been studying the lake since last fall with a geological engineering perspective. We had mentioned how they implemented a tracer dye test this past winter and early spring in hopes of determining exactly where the outflow of water through the bottom of the lakebed is going. This test yielded telling results - the fluorescein dye did not show up conclusively in any of the major surface streams near the mountain top, including Pond Drain (originally thought to be the main outflow of water from the lake). What this means is that the water may be held up underground for some period of time, perhaps in a reservoir of sorts, or that the water may flow through the fissures in the lake bottom further down under the mountain and surface streams. The scientists hope to repeat the dye test again in the future, surveying for the dye in underground streams and points near the foot of the mountain.

Lake level on June 27, 2012
As part of the ongoing study, over the next several weeks a team of high-elevation divers will be exploring the lake bottom and main depressions where the larger crevices are. We hope to be able to share any of the under-water photographs they obtain. Also, a live-feed camera will be installed and allow for real-time views of the lake! Stay tuned to the websites, blog, and Facebook - we'll post the link you can follow as soon as it's active!

Please remember to use caution and respect when exploring the lake and lake bed. The pontoon boat has been outfitted for the scientists, divers and their equipment. DO NOT DISTURB ANY RESEARCH EQUIPMENT OR BOATS. Although the lake is low, the water is still very deep, up to 40 feet in some areas. Swimming in the lake is AT YOUR OWN RISK, and we do not encourage swimming or fishing at this time.

The geological engineering research and diving teams have outfitted the pontoon boat for their work. Please, DO NOT DISTURB!

Flags marking the water level dropping - first flag marks water's edge on June 20, 2012, second flag marking June 25, 2012. Currently dropping fast with no real rains in the past week.

Exposed circular nests of the bluegill sunfish in the lake.