Falling water levels in lakes and rivers around the world have caused great concern among climate experts, and they’ve also led people to come across a range of newly discovered relics, from sunken ships to human remains. .
Nearly half of Europe faces drought warnings, while drought conditions in the American West, the worst in more than 1,000 years, led to cuts in water allocation last week for states along the Colorado River.
A report commissioned by the European Union from the Global Drought Observatory published this month found that 47% of Europe is in drought alert conditions and 17% of the region is in the alert condition threshold.
As policymakers bring new urgency to the fight against droughts in the United States and around the world, here are five of the strangest things exposed by drying up lakes and rivers:
The drought has brought the Danube, Europe’s second longest, to some of the lowest water levels seen in nearly a century.
The levels threatened navigation, especially in the Serbian section of the river, where authorities began dredging to keep ships moving in the waterway.
Near the port city of Prahovo, residents found the hulls of dozens of Nazi warships, raising concerns about possible unexploded ordnance still on board, Reuters reported last week.
“The German flotilla left behind a great ecological disaster that threatens us, the people of Prahovo,” local resident Velimir Trajilovic told Reuters.
The outlet reported that the ships were once operated by Nazi Germany’s fleet in the Black Sea and crossed the Danube as they retreated from Soviet forces.
At Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas, 113 million year old dinosaur tracks are preserved in the river bed. They are usually covered in water and sediment, which hinders their visibility.
But recent dry conditions this summer have lowered water levels in the park, located near Fort Worth, leading visitors last week to see the old tracks more exposed than ever.
Recent rains have since improved conditions, but the park wrote on its Facebook page that it was not enough to fill the Paluxy River, which runs through the park.
Jeff Davis, the state park superintendent, said employees who have worked the site for more than 10 years have never seen the tracks so clearly.
“You won’t find them anywhere in the world,” Davis told Nexstar Media, The Hill’s parent company. “You can actually see their individual toes, their individual claw marks. You can even see where they slipped as they ran.
The Guardian reported late last week that low water levels in the Czech Republic’s section of the Elbe revealed a sharp warning inscribed in German centuries ago: ‘Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine”.
The phrase translates to “If you see me, then cry”.
The inscription was written as a famine warning to future generations. This particular hunger stone was found near the town of Děčín, located in the northern region of the Czech Republic, near the country’s border with Germany.
The recent drought is not the first time such inscriptions have been seen in recent years. NPR reported that a Hunger Stone was visible in Děčín in 2018 during a separate drought and heat wave, and numerous other Hunger Stones exist throughout the region.
Many are familiar with Stonehenge in the UK, but the recent drought has re-exposed the ‘Spanish Stonehenge’ in the Valdecanas Reservoir, located in western Spain.
Reuters reported that the prehistoric stone circle is now visible for the fourth time since the area was flooded in 1963 as part of a rural development project. The arrangement is officially called the Dolmen of Guadalperal and is believed to have been created around 5,000 BC.
“It’s a surprise, it’s a rare opportunity to be able to access it,” archaeologist Enrique Cedillo told Reuters.
The BBC reported that a group of fishermen found an unexploded Second World War bomb on the banks of the Po River in Italy last month.
Italian military officials said the bomb, which weighed around 1,000 pounds, contained 530 pounds of explosives, the BBC reported.
The object was found near Borgo Virgilio, located in the province of Lombardy in the northern region of Italy.
Italy’s executive branch last month declared a state of emergency in five provinces until the end of the year in response to drought and low water levels in the Po River and the eastern Alps. The move provided 36.5 million euros to the affected areas.
“For the Po basin, this is the most serious water crisis of the last seventy years, according to an analysis by the Po District Basin Authority,” Italian Prime Minister Mario said. Draghi during a press conference at the end of June.