Water warming up again at hot springs
VANCOUVER—Mother Nature appears to be slowly turning on the taps again at some B.C. hot springs damaged by an earthquake last fall.
Parks Canada announced yesterday that hot-water seeps near two pools in Gwaii Haanas National Park have been observed below the tide line by scientists, and thermal activity has been detected—though not to previous levels—in all other areas where it once occurred.
Water flow and thermal activity at the naturally-sourced hot springs stopped in October following a 7.7-magnitude earthquake and aftershocks.
“This is a promising development but the mystery of what will happen to the pools continues,” said Ernie Gladstone, superintendent of the Gwaii Haanas field unit.
“We can’t confirm that this means the hot springs will be back to normal in the future.”
After the water stopped flowing, Parks Canada scientists installed heat-detecting devices at the hot springs.
The highest temperature recorded was 60 C while the highest ground temperature was 21 C, Parks Canada said in a news release.
Gladstone said the park will continue to monitor the springs for activity.
“Don’t get too excited until we see the pools full,” stressed Barb Rowsell, co-owner of a local tour company, Anvil Cove Charters.
“It may or may not come back to what it was but let’s hope,” she added.
“It seems to be moving in that direction but until it’s actually there, we don’t know.”
Rowsell said the damage to the hot springs shouldn’t impact the local economy, adding her company does six-day tours of the area, usually spending a half-day at the hot springs.
“It’s not a single thing and I don’t think people would cancel trips of the Gwaii Haanas because of the hot springs,” she reasoned.
The springs, part of a Haida Heritage Site, have been used for decades by the local First Nations to cook and gather seafood, and also because they are considered to offer healing properties.
They also were known to alleviate the aches and pains of sailors and kayakers, sea-faring tourists, and campers from the region, as well as commercial fishermen.
The pools were contained in rough-hewn, manmade stone walls and varied in size, with the smallest soaker just over two metres wide and the largest more than seven metres.