Hot springs looking good, says expert

  • Jan. 25, 2013 8:00 a.m.

By Jeff King–The man who wrote the book on hot springs in BC, and who is an emeritus research scientist for the Geological Survey of Canada says “it’s looking good for the hot springs. I hope everybody up there is pretty happy about the thing, because I’m pretty happy, too.” Dr. Glenn Woodsworth is the author of ‘The Hot Springs of Western Canada’ and told us when the Haida Gwaii hot springs dried up after the October 27 earthquake, that if they didn’t come back in six months, they likely never would. Then, on January 17, Gwaii Haanas confirmed that thermal activity on Hotspring Island had been observed, with the highest water temperature reaching 60 degrees, with a ground temperature of 21 degrees. Dr. Woodsworth wouldn’t predict what will happen next, but said “it’s looking good”, adding that, as stress rebuilds after the quake, the underground rocks may slowly be going back to their original state. This could press cracks back together, allowing water to flow as it had before. “Clearly, the circulation system is starting to be re-established, that’s what’s probably happening,” he told the Observer Friday in a telephone interview from Vancouver. Dr. Woodsworth also said the heat measured in the ground “has to be coming from the hot water”. Gwaii Haanas said that thermal activity has been detected in all areas of the island, but that water flow has not returned to previous levels. Ernie Gladstone, Gwaii Haanas superintendent said his organization has been monitoring the temperature on Hotspring Island every hour in 17 locations, both on and below the surface. As well, there are cameras recording any steam or water that may return.”Every location that we think was a heat source in the past continues to maintain some level of heat,” he said, and noted that in the one place where hot water is flowing, it’s too hot to hold your hand in. What’s next? No one knows for certain, but the fact that there is heat and hot water is a good sign. “It’s uncertain what’s going to happen in the future with the springs,” Mr. Gladstone said, but “we are certainly more hopeful than we were for the last couple of months.”