The agreed-upon theory among the villagers of Boiling Springs was that water from the local side of South Mountain fed into the Bubble near Children’s Lake.
“People for years told me the water comes off of the South Mountain chain,” South Middleton Township Supervisor Tom Faley said.
He was, therefore, stunned when other news reached his ears. A recent study from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster County indicated that this wasn’t the whole story.
This is something hydrogeologists had suspected for decades but had been unable to prove, according to recent F&M graduate and researcher Jake Longenecker.
While some of the water at the Bubble located behind the Boiling Springs Tavern could be traced to this area of South Mountain, most of the water didn’t share the same characteristics, he said. Scientists believed for decades that there was another source of the water.
That was where scientists in the past left it.
Longenecker himself may have very well ended up joining those ranks.
In 2015, he was an undergraduate who was already doing graduate-level work in his chosen career path. He worked with mapping and did a project at Indian Echo Caverns. Another student was leaving behind the project to find the Bubble’s water source, and Longenecker received approval from geoscience adjunct professor Tim Bechtel to take on the task that others couldn’t solve.
It was clear that the usual methods of locating the water source wouldn’t be useful. Longenecker understood why so many had abandoned the search.
“That’s where I would have left it,” he said.
What scientists didn’t have then that Longenecker did, however, was access to a NASA satellite.
“NASA had just launched a satellite to make data available to the public,” he said.
Where precipitation data could be patchy and sparsely available through local channels, the…