When a Californian resident flew his drone over his property, he noticed something nearby that caught his eye. At first, he thought he was seeing a black hole in a lake nearby. When he got closer, he saw something amazing!
Lake Berryessa is Napa County’s largest lake. David Burgman captured these incredible pictures over it while he was taking his drone for a spin. His drone was 1,000 feet up in the air over the lake when he saw what he never imagined he would see.
In the middle of the lake, the water was rushing down into a black hole vortex like something out of a science-fiction movie. The water was being pulled into it at high speed, but this had David wondering, what was pulling it into the hole and how is it so powerful?
When David started to get closer and closer to the hole to get a better look at what it really was, the drone started to get sucked in. The force of the swirling black hole was so powerful that David nearly lost control, but at the last second, the drone regained a safe distance.
“When I lowered the drone into the ‘Glory Hole,’ it became unstable and almost crashed into the side,” he explained. The drone is typically a very stable device, but when he got closer, it became wildly unstable as he lost control. He started scrambling to maneuver the drone out of harm’s way and finally figured out how to pull it out of there.
Saved Just In Time
He said that he did everything he could to remain calm. He remembered that if he lost his composure, the drone could have been easily sucked into this powerful abyss 2,000 feet away in Putah Creek. He was pleased that instinct took over and he was able to stay focused enough to keep it from getting destroyed by the vortex.
What Did The Locals Think?
In the 1950’s the locals of Monticello left the area mainly due to the potential of floods wreaking havoc through their homes. They were convinced and superstitious that the black hole was a product of witchcraft of supernatural events.
This lake has approximately 521 billion gallons of water. At its maximum capacity, the surface of the reservoir would rise to over four hundred feet above sea level. If it reaches its limit, it could spill out into the residences in the area, causing potential devastation to the lives surrounding the lake.
California has had a history for drought, leading even the most seasoned experts to expect that the likelihood of this lake overflowing was slim to none. In fact- in October 2016 the lake wasn’t even half-full. This leaves us wondering why it would appear to be so full at the time of David’s sighting of this black hole.
Whether The Weather
California experienced unusual rainfall in the winter months of 2017 which effectively brought the state out of its drought phase but also caused some damage along the way. The excess rainfall filled lakes to their maximum capacity in the Napa County region, causing Lake Berryessa’s “gloryhole” to take effect and start swirling out of control.
The swirling vortex is located close to the Monticello Dam and when it’s necessary, it spirals out of control to stop the lake from overflowing and causing a flood in the surrounding neighborhood. When David approached it with his drone, it looked like a gateway to another dimension.
The vortex is essentially a large drain, roughly 72 feet wide and drops down 200 feet before flushing excess water out through the dam. Normally, you can see the top of the drain as it typically sits above the water’s surface, but after the increase in rainfall, the water level had risen high enough to conceal the mouth.
The hole is designed to start removing water from the lake when the water level reaches 440 feet. This, of course, was not a commonly seen event given the lack of rainfall throughout California in recent years. That’s also why it was such a surprise to David when he saw what the black hole.
Spiriling Out Of Control
Astonishingly, this drain removes two-million gallons of water per minute. That’s essentially like saying it sucks out four Olympic sized swimming pools every minute. To get close to a drain that powerful could surely be life threatening if not fatal.
A Sad Tale
In 1997, a local woman named Emily Schwalek tragically had a horrific encounter with the drain. She spent her last 20 minutes desperately clinging onto the concrete edge of the spillway before she lost her grip and fell.
When it’s hot out, the lake dries out and skateboarders move in and take advantage of the curves the dam provides at Lake Berryessa. In fact, there are a few that are similar in design to this one, such as Japan’s Nekogahara Pond and Shing Mun Reservoir in China.
Hundreds of people who lived in the area were heavily attracted to the sight of the swirling vortex as its powerful effect hadn’t been seen in a long time. People even took to the air or sent up their drones like David to get a good look at what was really going on.
Surprisingly, this has turned into an internet phenomenon, bringing people from all over to visit Lake Berryessa and see what all the fuss was about. People have been getting amazing photos of what appears to be a gateway to another dimension.
Another surprising detail was how much attention the ‘Glory Hole’ received on Instagram as people from all around the world were chiming in to talk about it.
Due to its pornographic connotation with a term like ‘Glory Hole’, social media issues warnings for viewers to avoid potentially alarming hashtags that might connect the man-made wonder to more inappropriate posts.
Give A Dam
After the completion of the Monticello Dam in the 1950’s, Lake Berryessa became the seventh largest man-made lake in California. At over 300 feet tall, the Monticello Dam supplies water and electricity to nearly 600,000 people all over the Sacramento Valley and San Francisco’s North Bay.
Bizarre and beautiful all rolled into one. Nobody expected to see the sight of the ‘Glory Hole’ but without it, the excess of water had the potential to destroy the dam. The dams constantly face danger if the lake begins to overflow.
Some surrounding areas are more prone to immediate evacuations if the water level gets too high or if they are expecting a flash flood. In fact, some 200,000 people were forced to flee for their lives when it was discovered that a 30-foot-deep hole had opened up in the Oroville spillway. The good news was that this turned out to be a preventative measure as there was no overflow.
A Thing Of Beauty
Spillways have long been considered a simple engineering necessity, but thanks to David’s drone, we can appreciate the beauty of its art as it removed four Olympic sized pools of water from the lake every second it’s active.
A Sight Worth Seeing