Lake Jackson in the Florida Panhandle was once known by Native Americans as “Okeeheepkee” or “Disappearing Waters” – it rests above a thin layer of clay, underneath which lies dry, porous limestone. It’s been the site of multiple “dry-downs,” most recently in June 2021. When the weight of the water in the lake becomes too great for the clay layer, it breaks through to the limestone and water drains rapidly to the water table in the Floridian Aquifer. It can drain at amazingly fast rates, of up to 8,000-10,000 gallons per minute. Needless to say this is a fascinating event—but eventually the lake will return once the sinkhole plugs itself. Filling the lake often takes years to replace what drained in days. – Beth Sciaudone, WRE Instructor

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