At first glance, some may wonder what this bizarre hole is all about. In fact, this perfectly round phenomenon is man-made, and has attracted quite the attention for its mesmerizing drainage of surplus water, which hasn’t been seen for over a decade.
A gaping hole at Lake Berryessa in California is the spillway constructed for the 304-foot-high dam, and it’s a sight to behold when it’s doing what it does best—drain water.
After the lake’s water exceeds its capacity of 521 billion gallons (approx. 1.97 trillion liters), the spillway acts as a drain for excess water, to prevent flooding. The water flows over the lip of the hole, funnels down the cone, and exits into Putah Creek, located on the other side of the Monticello Dam.
Following years of dry weather in California, it has been over a decade since the spillway has been seen in action. After five years of drought, the lake finally received enough rain to exceed the lake’s capacity, and the immense hole is once again playing its intended role.
Following a couple of months of heavy rain at the beginning of the year, the eye-catching scene of water disappearing into this wormhole-like structure attracted hundreds of locals, who gathered to watch the spectacular sight.
“I went up there the other day and there were about 15 drones flying around and people taking videos,” said Kevin King, an operations manager at the Solano Irrigation District, which oversees the day-to-day activities at the dam. “It’s really dramatic to watch.”