Thor's Well - Unique Places in North America

Thor's Well, Oregon.
Thor's Well, Oregon.

The marvelous and treacherous feature that is Thor’s Well is located on the edges of the coast of Oregon. Sometimes also known as the drainpipe of the Pacific Ocean, the well is situated in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area a few miles to the south of Yachats. More precisely, it is located close to Spouting Horn at Cook’s Chasm which is in the scenic area. Other names for the well are “the gate to hell” and “a gaping sinkhole.”

The well itself is a bowl-shaped sinkhole made out of basalt that appears as if it is draining the Pacific Ocean. Thor’s Wells is likely to measure around 20 feet in depth. Aside from the circular shape and close location against the Pacific Ocean, the feature itself is not that dissimilar to nearby features like Cook’s Chasm and Devil’s Churn. A fascinating feature about the well is that it never fills with water despite the unending stream of water provided by the majestic Pacific. Researchers speculate that the well started out as a cave whose roof collapsed, leaving two openings at the top and side.


The habitat around the well is of a marine nature. The habitat of the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area has unique ecological features with a temperate spruce rainforest. The rainforest then transitions to the ocean with a stone shelter that was used back during World War II because of the natural height.


The uniqueness of the well can be seen from the way the mechanism works. During high tide, water fills it from the bottom using an opening at the side. After the well is full, it bubbles out violently through the top due to the energy in the waves. The sprouting water then comes back down and goes back into the well. This mechanism gives the unique appearance that the well never fills. Anyone wishing to observe this mechanism at work can do so while the tide is low. Another unique feature is that the well is circular-shaped, unlike similar nearby features.


The United States Forest Service manages Thor's well and the surrounding Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. Visitors are open to visit the well for most days of the week. The site is especially enticing to people who enjoy photography or thrill-seekers. The most spectacular sights are seen at high tide or when there are storms. During these times, the water gains enough momentum and energy of filling up the hole quickly and creating powerful sprouts at the top of the well.


The threats at the well are not towards the well but the visitors, especially during high tide. If visitors are not careful around the well, then they may fall into it. Also, the sudden bursts of water with plenty of energy may sweep unsuspecting or daring tourists right into the unforgiving Pacific Ocean. Despite all the dangers posed and accidents that some visitors have had in the past, most people cannot resist the temptation of going to the edge of the well and marvel.


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