Friday, 8 April 2016

The Boiling Lake of Dominica

Our Planet Earth is full of surprises, every day you’re might be hearing something different about it. That’s really very true; Dominica’s “Boiling Lake” is one of them, a world Heritage site, situated in the Morne Trois Pitons National park. The Boiling Lake is flooded fumarole 10.5 km east of Roseau Dominica, filled with bubbling greyish blue water, normally enveloped in a cloud of vapour. The lake is approximately 200 feet to 250 feet across, 2,300 feet above sea level, and its water are often forced 3 feet above normal pressure of escaping gases.

Two English men Mr. Watt and Dr. Nicholls, working in Dominica and they’ve recorded first sighting of the lake in 1870. Moreover, the water temperature was about 180 to 197 °F in 1875, but periodically the fluctuations in the level and activity of the lake. Due to phreatic eruption, the lake disappeared in 1880 and formed a fountain of hot water and steam. However, in 2005 the lake appears again refilling the lake in just one day. Therefore, continuous flux of steam or gas generated by an underlying magmatic intrusion drives water up into the lake, and disturbance to the supply of gas can cause the lake to drain through the porous connection that normally allows steam to rise and heat the lake. Amusingly, the lake suddenly dried up on the exact day the devastating tsunami hit Southeast Asia in 2004, a mystery scientists are still attempting to unravel.

The Lake situation at the bottom of a large sinkhole like basin, flooded fumarole an opening crack or hole in the Earth’s crust, normally within the vicinity of a volcano which emits the steam and gases escaping from molten lave below. Moreover, the air in the surrounding area is hot, steamy and moist, supported by the sharp acrid smell of Sulphur. The boiling lake was first shoot in a movie in 2007. In addition, Dominica's Boiling Lake is the 2nd largest hot lake in the world after Frying Pan Lake, located in Waimangu Valley near Rotorua, New Zealand. The Boiling Lake adventure is full of fauna and flora, birds or interesting tidbits often in awe of the beautiful and at times surreal surroundings. The lake can be view from a broad cliff-top edge almost 100 feet above its shore, as high rock walls surround and formed the basin. The basin’s water is replenished by rainfall and two small streams drain into the area. Then the water seeps down to the lava and is heated to the boiling point.

There is no direct approach to lake, so about 8 KM return hike is required to get in the lake point from nearest road. Therefore 6 hours round trip over challenging terrain, the Boiling Lake hike ranks as one of Dominica's most demanding trails among the best ways to experience the rain-forest of the Caribbean’s Nature Island. The most famous of Dominica's trails, starts from the village of Laudat, there are other trails to the lake from the villages of Morne Prosper and Grand Fond. So, avoid hiking when there are downpours and check the weather forecast before you go. The trail will be very difficult and certainly dangerous in some places if it’s raining heavily. The route is incredibly varied, continually leading uphill and downhill, passing through stunning rain-forest. Boiling water, hot steam and sulfur is coming to surface in innumerable places. 

The soil changes daily, that's why there is no prepared trail through this valley, you have to find the best way through this vulcanic area. Therefore, it is highly recommended to hire a guide who knows the area, because it can easily happen to step in wrong place and break through the surface into small pots of boiling water. The trail leads through another volcanic area called the Valley of Desolation. So, keep in mind that it’s a demanding and physically challenging trek, but one that’s well worth it as much for the destination as the rewarding views along the way.

Dominica's Boiling Lake is a unique natural attraction, and do not under any circumstances attempt to swim, and keep your proximity to the lake as brief as you can, because lake water may change in little warning. The sweltering temperature is too hot in center and bubbling. Boiling Lake continues to be monitored by the Forestry Division and is now regarded to have settled back down to its normal condition, continuing to attract our visiting hikers.