Drought is revealing hidden gems

dry, mud, river base-3905341.jpg

It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were hearing about the UK being unusually hot. It dropped out of the headlines here, but if you were paying attention, you would have noticed that a lot of the northern hemisphere (and Africa) is suffering the same thing.

According to the World Economic Forum:

  • northern Italy is facing its worst drought in 70 years
  • around 75 per cent of Romania is affected by drought
  • Portugal recorded its hottest July since records began and 99 per cent of the country is in severe or extreme drought
  • the Horn of Africa is experiencing its worst drought in more than 40 years with more than 18 million people facing severe hunger in Ethiopia, Somalia and parts of Kenya
  • 43 per cent of the United States is experiencing drought.
Picture: Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite

All of England’s south west region is drought-declared, which the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology suggests might last until October.

The European Union’s environmental program Copernicus suggests that Europe faces a drought that may be worst in 500 years.

China has been hit by a record-breaking heatwave that lasted for more than 70 days, affecting 900 million people. Agriculture and horticulture in particular are being badly affected and since it is one of the world’s largest exporters of fruit and vegetables, this is contributing to food shortages.

In short, these droughts are damaging farm economies, forcing water restrictions and causing massive fires. Millions of people, animals and fish are suffering.

A tiny glimmer of a silver lining

However, in an attempt to see a silver lining let’s consider the gems that are being revealed by drying rivers and dams:

  • Nazi ships on the Danube. The Danube River has been reduced to one of its lowest levels in almost a century, exposing the hulks of dozens of explosives-laden German warships sunk during World War II.
  • Dinosaur tracks in Texas (one of my favourites). Drought has dried up a river flowing through Dinosaur Valley State Park, exposing 113 million year-old tracks. They were made by Acrocanthosaurus (think T. rex-like. It was 4.5 metres tall and weighed nearly seven tons as an adult) and Sauroposeidon (a giant sauropod, more than 18 metres tall and weighing 44 tons).
  • A lost palace in Mosul Dam. A 3,400-year-old palace in northern Iraq’s Mosul Dam reservoir, at a site known as Kemune, once stood on an elevated terrace on the eastern banks of the Tigris River.
  • The Dolmen of Guadalperal (‘Spanish Stonehenge’). A ring of prehistoric stones, dated to 5,000 BC, that has only been fully visible on four occasions since 1963.
  • Human remains in Lake Mead. At least five discoveries of human remains have been made in Arizona’s Lake Mead, a reservoir off the Hoover Dam since May.
  • A 450 kg WWII bomb in an Italian river. Around 3,000 people living nearby had to be evacuated ahead of the bomb being detonated in a disused quarry.

Source: Several parts of the world are in drought — revealing hidden treasures in dried-up riverbeds

I talked about this with Danny Hoyland on West Bremer Radio on 3 September 2022. Listen live each week: Saturday 7.40 am, West Bremer Radio.

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