Dragon s Eye a lake in Rogoznica

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1 Dragon s Eye a lake in Rogoznica Rogoznica Primary School School year 2012/2013

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3 Introduction Coming to Rogoznica from the North and the South side, there are two signs on which it says Dragon s Eye ( Zmajevo Oko ). If you follow the signs, you will soon be in the town of Rogoznica where you will see more information about the location of Dragon s Eye. It really pays to follow the signs because they take you to a small path leading to a spectacular lake, which has become the object of research for many Croatian and world scientists.

4 Some general information The Lake is situated on the peninsula Gradina, on the narrow slip of land that separates the bays of Soline (Miline) and Koprišće. The lake is surrounded by vertical rocks from 4 to 24 metres in height. The surface of the lake is 10,000m2, and the biggest depth measured is 15 metres. The first ever known research of the lake was done by professor Buljan in He claims that the lake was created by a cave whose roof caved in, which resulted in a hole. After the Ice Age, about 10 thousand years ago, when the sea level rose by about 100 metres, that hole filled up with sea water which

5 found its way through underground canals and cracks. Buljan established that the lake water has poisonous gases sulphuric hydrogen - which was the first such finding on the East coast of the Adriatic Sea. He also discovered that the water is divided into layers, and that there is no oxygen at the depth of more than 9 metres. Every few years the water layers mix and the water becomes white. Sometimes the layer of water without oxygen spreads all over the lake and all organisms in it die, and after that, a few years are needed for life in the lake to renew. The people of Rogoznica call this phenomenon the boiling of the lake or the lake going wild. On the west side of the lake there are four little underwater caves. At the entrance they are three to four metres high and they get smaller towards the end. The longest cave is 8 metres long. There exists no tunnel to which the lake is connected with the sea, as it was once thought; there are ten places through which sea water enters the lake. The saltiness of the lake is high, and the temperature of water layers varies, so that the bottom layer can be 5 degrees warmer than the top one. On the surface, the lake water is green and blue, and then it becomes yellow, and on the border where there is no oxygen the water is red. From there to the bottom it is gray and dark brown, so that nothing can be seen. The lake has many different inhabitants and some species become much bigger in the lake than in the surrounding sea. Oysters and mussels in the lake grow quite big, even much bigger than the Adriatic average. Many years ago the inhabitants of Rogoznica used to throw live fish in the lake, which they would catch in the surrounding sea, and leave it in the lake to grow for a year and then catch it again. The fish was enormous after its stay in the lake!

6 The phenomenon of water mixing The last case of water mixing in the so-called water column or water pillar in the lake happened in 1997 when at the end of September the water became milky green, and all organisms that could swim rose to the surface. Two days later they all died. Chemical analyses showed that the whole water column was without oxygen and on the surface there was sulphur. Even today scientists do not agree about the cause because there were no measurements taken before or immediately after the event. Since that time some species that used to live in the lake have not appeared again. For years scientists had been trying hard to protect the Dragon s Eye as a special ecological value. They finally succeeded in 2010 when Dragon s Eye was included in the national ecological network so that today it is a part of protected natural heritage and is under state control.

7 Eyewitness reports From 1942 In Rogoznica there is a lady who is 84 years old now and as a thirteen year old girl she witnessed the phenomenon of mixing water. She and her friends were minding sheep in the fields not far from the lake, when suddenly around 2 o clock in the afternoon, a loud, terrifying noise was heard. It was like thunder coming from the inside of the lake and the lake water level rose and the water spilled into the sea. The fish were thrown out and the surface was so thick that nothing could sink. After that the water suddenly withdrew. Nobody alive then could remember that the water in the lake had risen so much and spilled into the sea. From 1997 Lots of people remember what happened in A middle-aged man says that one day there was a terrible smell in the whole of Rogoznica. It was impossible to breathe. People went to the lake and were surprised when they saw a white lake, no blue or green patches on the surface, just a creamy, white cover. There were thousands of dead fish, crabs, shrimps and other organisms floating on the surface. People knew that the lake had boiled.

8 Legends Since Dragon s Eye is very unusual and has occasional drastic and very dramatic changes, all kinds of stories have developed among the people of Rogoznica and they are still told today. The most famous legend says that two brothers owned the land on which the lake is now located. The soil was very fertile so the crop was always rich, and the brothers always split it fairly. However one of the brothers became blind and at the time of the following crop he warned his brother, If you trick me, the ground will open and our fields will sink into water, and from the water a dragon will jump out and it will swallow you. The brother did not split the crop fairly, a big hole opened in the ground, it filled with water, and from the water rose a dragon, swallowed the cheating brother and returned back to the depths of the lake, where it still lives. Occasionally it moves and then the water rises in the lake, and if it accidently poisons the animals in the lake with its breath, then the smell is felt outside the lake. Drawing on cover of school magazine Dragon s Eye from 1995.

9 Science-Fiction fans have their own legend which says that on the bottom of the lake there is a space ship which occasionally tries to establish a connection with other space ships and when it tries to move, the lake has weird changes. There is a legend that mentions heroes from Ancient Greece. According to the legend, on the peninsula of Heraclea, today known as Rogoznica, lived a dragon Murin, who protected the inhabitants from enemies. As a sign of appreciation, the inhabitants gave him the most beautiful girl every year. Not a single girl survived in the presence of such a horrible monster. One day a man called Aristoles came to Heraclea. He was a great-grandson of Jason who was one of the Argonauts and he fell in love with the girl that had to be handed over to the dragon the next day. Aristoles could not allow that so he challenged the dragon to a duel. They fought all day and in the end, thanks to the spear which was made by Hefest himself, Aristoles found a way to the dragon s heart. The dying dragon was furious because the gods betrayed him and he dug out his own eyes. He threw one eye as far as he could and it fell where the Adriatic Sea is now the deepest, and for the other one he didn t have enough strength to throw it somewhere. The eye slipped out of his claw and fell on a rock. At that very moment it melted the rock, made a big hole which was filled by the sea giving us the lake called Dragon s Eye.

10 Conclusion Dragon s Eye is certainly one of the most important natural phenomena in this part of Dalmatia. It has not become a tourist attraction as yet, but it is very popular with the local population, especially the children because they love swimming in it. Before the sea is warm enough for swimming, the lake is much warmer so the swimming season starts very early for children in Rogoznica and lasts much longer than anywhere else on the Adriatic Coast.

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12 This booklet is the result of a research project on which a group of eighth graders from Rogoznica Primary School worked during the school-year 2012/2013. The source of the text is a collection of work on the Primošten-Rogoznica area called Povid, published by Matica Hrvatska, The selection of texts and their translation was done by: Duje Cvitić Marko Galić Marija Kovačić Kristina Lovrić Project coordinator: Maja Janković - English teacher

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