October 05, 2016

Devils Hole system, Death Valley, California
National Park Service and the Forest Service departments diving the Devil's Hole, California
The Devil's Hole system is a vital resource for the endangered species of pupfish and a point of hydro logic geological survey and life.  Please continue to respect and treat this property as a sanctuary and respect the measures taken to protect this research.  We need the help of EVERY visitor and encourage the stewardship in facilitating a preserving environment for the devil's hole system.

Click on this link to watch a Video on the Devils Hole System
looking up at the entrance of the Devil's Hole PHOTO BY: Brett Seymour

Devil's Hole is a 50ft x 10ft fissure crack in at the base of a mountain located in the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge just outside of Death Valley National Park.  The devil's hole entrance is part of a massive aquifer, an aquifer that has no confirmed depth or has been full explored by divers in the past.  What is known about this system is that it is faulted entrance into an aquifer of unknown measurement.  The fissure opens up to the aquifers water table and faults down into phreatic and fissure submerged passages that are mostly underwater with the exception of a few air bells.

One of the most protected species of fish I have ever encountered, The Devil's Hole Pupfish, are and have been the subject of research, spotlight, and debate for over 70 years. These pupfish are an ancient species of fish that have been found in other fossil specimens and are noted for their particular threshold to high salinity levels in water and extreme temperatures.   The Devil's Hole Pupfish are a unique species that can thrive in environments where other fish would die. They are endemic to this section of the devils hole system

Devils Hole Pupfish, PHOTO FROM: Click HERE for photo location 

and have been living in a algae shelf above 80ft where the light zone allows algae to grow subsequently allowing the pupfish to survive by eating the nutrients that the pupfish require for survival.
National Park Service and the Forest Service departments diving the Devil's Hole, California

The Devils hole system has not been without incident and has a long history incidence as the fortified confines show that protect the devil's hole today. The Steel fencing, multiple cameras, and breach triggers with immediate access to law enforcement protect the pupfish and protect people from themselves by attempting to challenge the cave, which has had deadly results to former intruders.  Back in 1965, there was a incident where several kids jumped the fence and entered the devils hole system, two never came back out. Jim Houtz, one of the recovery divers,  was assigned to the recovery and completed a dive to 315ft. with no sign of the bodies, just an endless bottom.  

Devil's Hole, second entrance
 Jim explains his account of the depth in Devils hole, " I went to the surface and notified everybody about what we found. It was a very sad, very solemn moment. I said, ‘I’m going to recover the rest of this equipment and I’ll do one more thing to confirm. So I made one dive to the last little ledge – at 325 feet. At that point, the Devil’s Hole opens up wide, and I can tell you one thing. I know it goes down to over 900 feet. We once let out 932 feet of cable from that point and there’s a current down there – so how much of the cable was bowed from the current, I don’t know, but it’s just, it’s just massive." 

 Cited from:

Devil's Hole, second entrance
More recently, there was a group of people caught vandalizing and trespassing onto this property that consequently disrupted the pupfish culture with evidence of pupfish fatalities after this incident. read more about the incident here.

Devil's Hole, second entrance
The Devil's hole is also a connection to massive tectonic action with the evidence of 'tsunami activity in Devils Hole.  One earthquake caused by a 7.4 magnitude earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico on March 20, 2012 created waves that splashed over the water table and onto the surrounding walls.

 Learn more and see another video in this Scientific American article.
We were invited to attend one of the dive operations where the NPS and Fish & Wildlife divers did a fauna count of the endemic pupfish in the devils hole system as well as a observation and fauna count at depth.  Water temp is a beautiful 94 degrees and the viz was excellent!  The water is believed to take thousands of years to work its way through the aquifer and out the springs, that indicate a massive system under one of the most dry and desolate places on earth.  

Chronology of previous diving operations in the Devil's Hole, Nevada.

Future diving efforts are planned and although the plan to continue a survey has been halted to protect the pupfish, a continued survey in the Devil's Hole system will not only provide a better understanding of this aquifers mystery, but will also shine light on the essential purpose of Ash Meadows and Death Valley, which is to identify and protect all species of life that already exist and have yet to be discovered in the darkness and depths of the Devils hole system.

Click on the Link Below to learn more about the Devil's Hole System.
NPS divers in Devils Hole during a recent research dive in April 2015. | Photo: Brett Seymour (NPS) 2015.
There is no doubt that this system has a vast array of mystery from a geological, biological and a volcan-speleological perspective with regard to the hydro-thermal waters, tsunamis, and unknown fauna that might be thriving in the depths of this system. 

More information on the hydro-logical flow in Nevada and California.

You Might Also Like



European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used and data collected on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent.