Bright Blue Lakes

daniel8802

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Nov 16, 2009
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Hi Everyone,

I'm looking at the pine barrens on google earth and I see a ton of bright blue lakes all around the pines. Are there stories behind these? Can anyone go back to visit them? If you have any information on them that would be great!
 

MarkBNJ

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Most, if not all, of these are pits where clay or sand was mined. I don't know the precise reason for the bright blue color, but it has to do with light absorption and the minerals in the water. Certainly you can visit any that are on public land. Color-wise you'll find that the effect dissipates as you get close, and is most striking in aerial photos. Other than that, they are not always the most scenic nor the most interesting locations in the woods, but some are more interesting than others.
 

mudboy dave

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Most, if not all, of these are pits where clay or sand was mined. I don't know the precise reason for the bright blue color, but it has to do with light absorption and the minerals in the water. Certainly you can visit any that are on public land. Color-wise you'll find that the effect dissipates as you get close, and is most striking in aerial photos. Other than that, they are not always the most scenic nor the most interesting locations in the woods, but some are more interesting than others.
just went "wading" in one yesterday.
 

Teegate

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They actually look much greener when there.





Guy
 

Spung-Man

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Pine Barrens Mystery

Daniel,

There is an alternative explanation for the unusual hue to some local water-bodies. There appears to be a microbiological component to this perplexing issue. We can see an unusual complex of blue-green algae (i.e., cyanobacteria) and diatoms at blue holes, which are strong springs of some antiquity found along Pine Barrens channels. Well, at least they used to be strong upwellings before we started over-pumping groundwater out of the aquifers. Today it takes a prolonged wet period before blue holes again reveal their unusual turquoise-blue color.

Kirtsuk et al. (2007) spent several years studying the blue circular lakes of Yamal (Siberia), and were unsuccessful at finding a geologic explanation for unusual coloring:


http://maps.google.com/maps?q=yamal&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF8&hl=en&ll=70.110485,69.796143&spn=0.812027,2.419739&t=h&z=9>

Their findings were presented at an International Cryogenic Resources Conference in Salekhard. The Italian Antarctic microbiologists and I suggested at the Plenary Session that a biological contribution should be considered. Extremophiles rule where others fail to survive. Boyd (2008: 32) within The Ecological Pine Barrens of New Jersey suggested that blue holes contain massive growths of Cyanophyta. The health risks associated with blue-green algae, the production of neurotoxins, may in part account for the sinister reputation of Pine Barrens blue holes.

Spung-Man
 

Teegate

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Spungman,

I fixed your link so check it to make sure I am correct.

Guy
 
Say it isn’t so, fellas! Are you sure?!?!?!?

Mark, Karl, and Spungman:

Are you guys sure about the source of rich blue coloring in these water bodies? I have always firmly held the belief that the color comes from all the abandoned blue cars and trucks that sit at the bottom of these sand mines and clay pits!!

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it! :dance: :dance: :dance:

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 

Kevinhooa

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Pretty interesting. I thought I read somewhere that back in the old glass making days, the blowers would add iron to the melted glass to give it an aqua tinge. I always thought that something in that chemically created the blue to be reflected back. Pine barrens water is pretty darn rich in iron. Maybe it works the same for water? Although I think Spungman's explanation is probably correct, or maybe a combo of the two.
 

manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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I can say from experience they make excellent swimming holes once abandoned for awhile.When their still in use or recently abandoned there is definitely something in the water that burns the eyes but after a couple years of abandonement this disappears and the water is fine.As these blue holes as their called down here age they often make nice little paradises,especially if they have an active stream running through them to bring in nutrienst as Menantico sand wash does,otherwise they can stay almost sterile for quite awhile.I know of one landlocked old blue hole that supports a decent bass population and many turtles snakes and not a few bullfrogs now.If you look at aerial of the dividing creek area you will see so many blue holes (you can tell their age by the color of the water) that it's plain that the dividing creek are will eventually break off and float out in the bay.one claimed possible disadvantage of the blue holes is they increase evaporation which lowers the water table.By the way on the aerials the young still shallow holes appear light blue.they get darker blue as they get deeper and especially after abandoned and all the silt settles.then they turn dark as the bottom fills up with sediment over the years and they become lakes so to spoeak.I know of one near turkey point that is flooded with salt water at high tides from a ditch in the back.it has quite the blue crab population in it.freshwater blue crabs,imagine that.
Al
 

Spung-Man

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Manumuskin,

Keen observations! Natural blue holes have pretty much faded from memory (e.g., Blue Bent Pond, Dog Heaven, Danger Hole, Three Pond Holes), and many of the features we call blue holes today are simply relicts of sand mining. I think their water-coloring mechanisms are similar. If silt or clay suspension were responsible, then one would expect the blue tint should fade with time. If a biological agent were responsible, then the blue tint should increase with time. Your observations seem to support the latter scenario.

Whether or not their presence lowers the shallow groundwater table remains debatable. Neither Rhodehamel (1970, 1973; hydrologist who calculated 17 trillion gallons of water within the Cohansey Aquifer) nor Rasmussen (1958; hydrologist who studied Delaware’s spungs) were able to calculate the water budget (+ or -) of small basins. Rhodehamel (1970: 10) was able to estimate that approximately two percent of the Pine Barrens is covered by closed basins. I wonder how much the coverage area has changed in four decades…

Spung-Man

Rasmussen WC. 1958. Geology and Hydrology of the “Bays” and Basins of Delaware. PhD dissertation, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA, 206 pp.

Rhodehamel EC. 1970. A Hydrologic Analysis of the New Jersey Pine Barrens Region. Water Resources Circular. No. 22. State of New Jersey, Division of Water Policy and Supply. 35 pp.

Rhodehamel EC. 1973. Geology and Water Resources of the Wharton Tract and the Mullica River Basin in Southern New Jersey. Special Report No. 36, Division of Water Resources. Trenton, NJ: State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. 58 pp