Devils Kettle: The biggest unsolved mystery on the North Shore

The Devil’s Kettle Falls has been stumping hikers and geologists for years. One side of the falls, which is part of the Brule River, rumbles onto a stone embankment and down the rocks like a typical waterfall, while the other side vanishes into a giant pothole.

Located only a few miles south of the U.S.-Canadian border, the Brule River flows through Minnesota’s Judge C. R. Magney State Park, where it drops 800 feet in an 8-mile span. About a mile and a half north of Lake Superior, a thick knuckle of rhyolite rock juts out creating the falls. On the right is the traditional waterfall, and on the left is the geological conundrum.

No one knows where the water goes after it enters the giant pothole (Devil’s Kettle). The consensus among geologists is that there must be an exit point somewhere beneath Lake Superior, but over the years, researchers have poured dye, ping pong balls, even logs into the kettle, then watched the lake for any sign of them. So far, none have ever been found.

While the notion of an underground river is an exciting device, in theory, the reality is that those types of deep caves are rare, and typically form in soft rock types like limestone. Northern Minnesota, as geologists will tell you, is composed of stronger rock like rhyolite and basalts.

Researchers have debated whether or not to send a human down into the abyss, but they would like to research it further to ensure nobody gets harmed. They warn anybody who wants to venture down into the falls, that you will most likely not resurface. So for now, leave the researching to the experts and use your imagination to create your own Devil's Kettle theory.

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