Ancient Word of the Day: Hell Kettle


Hell Kettle: n. A deep abyss or bottomless pool

The deep pools in Darlington, Co. Durham in England are a part of fearsome local legend.

These mysterious pools are said to have inspired Lewis Carroll’s endless rabbithole, where Alice tumbles into another world – in his classic book Alice in Wonderland.

They are known as Hell Kettles, and have had this name since the 16th century. They exist due to huge deposits of gypsum that have eroded over time.

An illustration of a Hell Kettle in Co. Durham

Some hell kettles in New Zealand…

Exploring the Hell Kettle of the Mariana Trench

In the western Pacific in 1875, the HMS Challenger, under the guidance of Scottish Naturalist Charles Wylie Thomson set sail from Plymouth in English and over 4 years discovered more than 4,000 new species. In the western Pacific over the Mariana Trench the crew recorded a depth of 4,475 fathoms or over 10 km. A true hell kettle!

Interactive Website: The Deep Sea by Neal Fun

The Deep Sea by Neal Fun
Jellyfish: A deep exploration of the Mariana Trench


Hell Kettles: Wikipedia

Welcome to the rumbling belly of the shaky isles: Waiotapu

Challenger Deep

The Cabinet of Linguistic Curiosities : A Yearbook of Forgotten Words by Paul Anthony Jones

Challenger Expedition

2 thoughts on “Ancient Word of the Day: Hell Kettle

  1. Ah! There’s a hell kettle where we had a holiday house growing up…down in south otago, Kaitangata. Dad told us about it every single time we drove past it…

    1. Content Catnip – Catnip, The World. – Digital dawdler, foodie, bookworm, culture vulture, rainbow lorikeet perennially in love with the arts, history and science. Constantly seeking inspiring people, knowledge and places.
      Content Catnip says:

      Interesting, thanks for sharing that memory. They can be creepy and fascinating places these hell kettles.

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