By Kelly Bjornstad
As water levels recede, dinosaur tracks, WWII remnants, and 15th century remains are left uncovered and in the open.The drought that’s been taking its toll on countries around the world is drawing eyes for what it unveils. With such low water levels, bodies of water in places like Texas, Europe, and a few Chinese cities have much less water and even offer some answers to previous mysteries.
Dead bodies found in Mead lake; a reservoir off of the Colorado river, have been found in old rusted barrels left sitting above water after the effects of such a dry period had taken their course. The National Centers for environmental Information explains “The 36-month period, August 2019-July 2022, ranked as the second driest such 3-year period, behind August 1928-July 1931” The 1930s time period mentioned refers back to what was called the Dust Bowl, where many Americans in south-central US were forced to seek refuge from such dry, dusty conditions that made making a living almost impossible.
In Texas’ Dinosaur valley state park tracks, usually covered by packed ground and silt, were visible on a surface level. Specifically, in the Paluxy state river. Park superintendents explain that the tracks found could date back to dinosaurs that existed millions of years ago. Jeff Davis, who is amongst the Parks superintendent crew spoke with ABC News, revealing “…the tracks at this site are possibly the longest tracks made by a single dinosaur in North America…the tracks are from Acrocanthosaurus dinosaurs from millions of years ago.” As you can imagine, this has attracted the attention of many residents and has become one of the park’s main alluring features. Davis later explained to ABC News that the tracks are most likely to be covered by rain water soon to come- best for their longevity anyways.
In Europe’s second longest river, the Danube, WWII remnants have become visible above surface level. Ships belonging to Nazi Germanys’ Black sea fleet of 1944 were found recently near Prahavo, Serbia. These ships were scuttled here after Fleeing Nazis were forced to do so from Soviets following close behind. And according to Insider, a Serbian minister reported these ships as home to 10,000 explosive devices. Explosives in the hulls of these partly submerged ships pose a great threat. And for good reason- there’s already been mishaps with old WWII bombs hiding in undercarriages and compartments underwater.
And in Germany’s Rhine River, 15th century “hunger stones” have been found, serving as a reminder of droughts and hardships that have come before us. The stones were originally placed in dried up rivers and streams to alert of bad times ahead and display engravings of dates and initials. The stones were made to serve the purpose of a warning; seeing the stones means a drought is upon you, and that it is something you should prepare for. Kyla Guilfoil from ABC News references a 2013 Czech study, quoting “Before 1900, the following droughts are commemorated on the stone: 1417, 1616, 1707, 1746, 1790, 1800, 1811, 1830, 1842, 1868, 1892, and 1893.” One of the stones had the German phrase “Wenn Du mich siehst, dann weine.” Which translates to “If you see me then weep.” Which makes sense, being that droughts in the past have resulted in worse harvest, difficult living conditions, and an overall decrease in quality of life.
It is no secret that humans continue to exploit resources that allow us access to water. We consume, manufacture, and raise temperatures. It’s almost as if a full cycle has taken its course. Where our own day to day has caused enough damage that we begin to find things our ancestors and things that have walked before us have left behind, all submerged underwater.