Friday, January 05, 2007


"Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down..."

And no this isn't a flashback to 1971 nor a post about the Carpenters. Amazingly enough, the only thing characteristic of the lyrics is the rainy day. Rain Rain go away...Come back again some other day! Now if we kept saying this everytime it rained, I'm thinking the world would be a dry and barren place. But alas, it rains for a reason, right?

Well of course it does, silly. We need the rain for our survival. Rain provides us with water to quench our thirst, grow our veggies, water our lawns and provides us with topics of discussion. But what I wanna know is...why does it rain in over-abundance? Seems like a waste to me...all this rain. Where does all the extra water go? Yes I am aware of the river systems and the oceans. Here's a fact of Indiana your probably not aware of regarding water ecosystems.

Here in Indiana we have a unique Karst system. This subterranean system is considered by many to be an underground Grand Canyon and three-dimensional river delta. This place is called the Lost River. It streches for 23 miles and winds through southern Indiana, dotted with deep springs, caves and sinkholes. The watershed is over 200 square miles. The Lost River begins like a normal river in western Washington County. As the stream meanders into Orange County, the water begins to sink into swallow holes in the river bed. The Lost River, at surface level, meanders as a dry bed for 23 miles. This is about a fourth of the river's 85-mile length. A few times each year the Lost River fills its dry bed as runoff exceeds the capacity of the many swallow holes to siphon off the river's flow. As a subterranean river, it follows a more direct path of only eight miles from where it disappears, to where it rises at two places to make the Lost River flow again. The subterranean portion of the river flows 60' to 150' beneath the surface. A spring roughly 160 feet deep forms where a portion of the river reappears at the True Rise of the Lost River. One mile upstream, the Orangeville Rise provides the outlet for the rest of the subterranean flow. It then flows along the surface again into southern Martin County eventually reaching the east fork of the White River.

The caves are home to at least 24 cave species — 19 of which are endangered or rare and five of which can be found only in this region three of which are new to science. Dr. Julian Lewis of the University of Louisville has been researching southern Indiana's cave systems for the past several years, finding and documenting rare and previously unknown species. The cave species have developed in relative isolation. The species isolated by the geologic conditions of the Lost River have developed unique adaptations. Cave beetles, blind crickets, blind cavefish, and blind crayfish populate this subterranean world.

I'm still not convinced there isn't a labyrinth of subterranean systems connecting the entire North American continent. Approximately 80 percent of Earth's surface is covered with water; about 97 percent of all water is in the oceans. The distribution of that three percent of all Earth's water that is freshwater. The majority, about 69 percent, is locked up in glaciers and icecaps, mainly in Greenland and Antarctica. You might be surprised that of the remaining freshwater, almost all of it is below your feet, as ground water. No matter where on Earth you are standing, chances are that, at some depth, the ground below you is saturated with water. Of all the freshwater on Earth, only about 0.3 percent is contained in rivers and lakes—yet rivers and lakes are not only the water we are most familiar with, it is also where most of the water we use in our everyday lives exists.

Yes...the rain also throws my mind into a fact finding frenzy. I'm trying to locate the documented species living within the Lost River. I'll update if and when I find it. Otherwise, I need to learn to just let it go.

Why does it gradually stop raining? So the clouds don't slam shut!

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