Hot water flowing again on Haida Gwaii's Hotspring Island

Hot water is flowing once again on Hotspring Island in Haida Gwaii, about three months after an earthquake shut off the natural supply, but it is not clear if the old hot springs will be refilled anytime soon.

Parks Canada staff have confirmed that hot water was detected seeping out of the rocks near the two popular hot pools on Hotspring Island, but the new water source is along the shoreline below the high tide line.

"The pools themselves remain dry, although we did find some hot water flowing out of a crevice at the base of a cliff in front of one of the pools, so that's very encouraging for us. We're hoping that the water levels continue to rise on site," said Ernie Gladstone, the Gwaii Haanas field unit superintendent.

"This is a promising development, but the mystery of what will happen to the hot pools continues. We can’t confirm if this means the hot springs will be back to normal in the future.

"Parks Canada will continue to observe the situation throughout the coming months, and we are hopeful that this is just the beginning.”

Haida Gwaii, previously known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, is comprised of more than 150 islands about 90 kilometres west of British Columbia's north coast.

A statement released by Parks Canada noted thermal activity has been detected in all the areas of Hotspring Island where it occurred before the 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck just off the islands on Oct. 27.

"The highest water temperature recorded was 60 degrees Celsius, while the highest ground temperature was 21 degrees Celsius.

"There were at least 26 hot springs and seeps on the island. These springs produced water at temperatures ranging from 32 to 77 degrees Celsius. The area of the hot springs is located close to a major fault system with a warm reservoir several kilometres deep."

In recent years the hot springs became a popular tourist attraction in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, but the Haida First Nation has been using the island's hot water for generations.

The Haida language name of the island, Gandll K’in, means “hot water,” said the statement.

"The site has been culturally important to the Haida people for many generations thanks to its warm waters, its unique ecology and its abundance of seafood."