This baffling piece of tree trunk has been floating upright in Oregon’s Crater Lake for already 100 years, bewildering the scientists and attracting hundreds of amazed tourists. The piece of trunk is around 30 feet and is already sort of celebrity in the area, having even a nickname – The Old Man of the Lake.
The log was first reported in 1902 and Crater Lakes has been called a national park. According to Joseph S. Diller, geologist, he spotted this piece of wood six year previously.
The 2 feet wide Old Man has been floating 4 feet above the water of the lake and seems to deny all the laws of physics, as it looks as if it is rooted but still keeps moving. Crater Lake is known as the ninth deepest lake in the world and it is so deep, that could easily fit Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty and Washington Monument. But not the wood trunk.
The tree has already made around thousands of miles since it was seen first time. One of the park naturalists John Doerr spent three months tracking its travel route in 1938, claiming that Old Man is sometimes quite fast in its traveling.
For example, between July 1st and Sept 30, the Old Man has crossed around 62 miles and on one day only it made 3.8 miles.
The locals got so impressed with the story of 450 year old trunk that even created a legend that it controlled the weather.
Back in 1988 scientists helicoptered a small submarine into the lake in order to study the geothermal activity, so they decided to use Old Man as a navigational hazard and tied it up to uninhabited Wizard Island. But as soon as they did it, the weather got immediately worse and the heavy storm approached the area. The scientists got really scared and released the Old Man. And as if it was a sort of a spell – the sky immediately cleared up. Coincidence or something else?
It is also believed that the tree was initially dislodged during a landslide on the carter wall. It was pulled down into the lake and rocks wedged in an expansive root structure that stabilized its base. The theory could have worked, as this was quite common for the trees at Spirit Lake near Mount St. Helens after the volcano eruption in 1980.
But anyway, such pieces of trees would normally float couple of years but then would definitely sink, which somehow didn’t happen to the Old Man, and nobody is aware why.
Ranger Dave Grimes believes that clean cold lake’s water was the one that helped to save the tree, and the balance was provided by the high density of the submerged section of the wood.
Nowadays dozens of tourists come to Oregon to take a boat and have a look at 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.’