The mystery of Devil’s Kettle Falls

When Cory Fechner sends me videos of slices of the state he documents with his quadcopter/drone, he also provides a little history and background.

Here’s today’s. Devil’s Kettle Falls on the Brule River.

This specific set of falls, about 20 minutes east of Grand Marais, draws visitors far and wide for its unique mystery: half the river disappears into a hole (kettle) and no one knows where all that water goes.

As the water falls the river slightly divides by a rhyolite rock knob in the middle of the river. The eastern side of the river (left side if looking downstream) flows over two-step waterfall and continues into Lake Superior. The western side of the river (right side looking down stream) mysteriously drops into a hole in the rock and is never seen again. Scientists and others have tried many experiments to determine where the water goes, but all attempts have proven fruitless. Colored dyes, logs, ping pong balls, GPS trackers and more have been thrown into the river and sucked into the abyss only to never be seen again.

It’s a lot of water to disappear into a kettle. Some say the underground river comes out about 1.5 miles away on the shore of Lake Superior, but it has never been proven.

There have been a couple nonfiction books that have alluded to the Devil’s Kettle, which has added to the popularity of the mysterious waterfall. Unraveled Sleeve by Monica Ferris and Jennifer’s Body by Audrey Nixon are two I have heard about.

So where does it all that water go?

Bonus: Today, Cory posted a video of Ely’s Peak in West Duluth.

The Ely’s Peak rail tunnel was constructed 1912 to extend the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway from Duluth to Virginia. The tunnel was constructed through the south edge of Ely’s Peak to make way for the railway. The tunnel, abandoned in the 1980’s, is 520 feet long and was cut on a seven degree curve.

The job was said to be difficult from the start. Chief Engineer Hazen of the Duluth, Winnipeg, and Pacific and Resident Engineer Harbolt were in immediate charge. Foley, Welch & Stewart, was the original contractor and sublet the contract to the O’Connell company which eventually had to call in the Fort Wayne Electric Company to assist in the project, because of the exceptional hardness of the rock, which needed the electric drill equipment to complete the project.