5 Places Drought Emerged: Past Lives Revealed

(CNN Spanish) — There have always been droughts, but in recent years —due to climate change— they have been more frequent, longer and more severe, causing millions of people in the world to live in extreme conditions due to water scarcity. At the same time, they have also made startling revelations of past lives, times when global warming was probably not yet an urgent issue.

Whether in Mexico, Iraq, the United States or Spain, the remains of churches, cities or ancient cultures emerge from the waters as a result of droughts caused by global warming. A phenomenon that has increased by 29% in number and duration since 2000, according to a study of the specialized body of the United Nations Organization (UN) against desertification, in different regions of the world.

A temple from the colonial era

A church from the time of the viceroyalty of New Spain was born in the middle of last year in the community of El Zangarro, located in the central state of Guanajuato, in Mexico. With the drought currently affecting the country, the water level in this dam built in 1979 by presidential decree it has descended and, with it, revived the ruins of the Temple of the Virgen de los Dolores.

Credit: Facebook State of Guanajuato, Mexico

Its construction dates back to the 18th century and there were the civil registry offices and the vicarage of what was then known as Villa Real de Mina de Guanajuato, as explained to the millennium journal Dulce María Vázquez, director of the Municipal Archives of the city of Irapuato, located 25 km from the temple.

The temple has attracted visitors and onlookers ever since.

A 16th century Dominican church

Six years ago, another 16th-century Dominican church resurfaced after Grijalva river water levels dropped 25 meters due to droughts in the area, explain tourism authorities in your website. The Temple of Santiago, located in Quechula, in the southern state of Chiapas, in Mexico, was left exposed after being submerged for years.

“Quechula was submerged at the time of the construction in 1966 of the Nezahualcoyotl dam, also known as Malpaso”, is explained on the website of the temple that is currently reached by boat and is visited by tourists every time the drought is pressing and they go down the water levels.

“That construction that impresses with its dimensions and apparent strength, and that today is a refuge for ducks, herons and birds in general.”

an ancient city

Extreme drought in Iraq allowed archaeologists to recently discover a city that dates back some 3,400 years. After the water level dropped rapidly, the experts excavated an area on the banks of the Tigris River against the clock where they found what could be the city of Zakhiku, an important center of the Mittani empire that reigned from 1550 to 1350 BC. C. (before our era, an e).

Zakhiku was submerged under water after the Iraqi government built the Mosul Dam in the 1980s and has hardly seen the light of day since.

The ancient city is now submerged again, but the researchers were able to catalog much of the archaeological site. Although little is still known about the ancient Mittani people who built the city, archaeologists were able to find certain artifacts during the latest excavation that could help provide information.

Archaeologists found five ceramic pots containing more than 100 cuneiform clay tablets, dated shortly after the earthquake. They are believed to belong to the Middle Assyrian period, which lasted between 1350 and 1100 BC, and could shed light on the disappearance of the city and the rise of Assyrian rule in the area, according to a press release.

A palace had already been documented when the city briefly emerged in 2018, but multiple additional structures were documented during the latest excavation. Some of the discoveries include a fortification complete with towers and walls and a multi-story tall storage building.

Relics of the Gold Rush

Folsom Lake’s water levels were so low last year due to a severe drought in the U.S. state of California that relics of the Gold Rush era that are normally submerged were revealed on dry land.

“With historically low water levels made worse by the impacts of climate change, artifacts and ruins that once belonged to past communities and cultures of the area are now appearing along the lake bed,” according to a Folsom Lake Recreation Area Facebook post.

Empty moorings on a dry lake bed at Folsom Lake Marina as the lake experiences lower water levels during the California drought emergency on May 27, 2021 in El Dorado Hills, California. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

For more than a century before the Folsom Dam was built, the area where this lake in northern California now stands was used for gold mining and agriculture. according to him L.A. Times. “The settlements were destroyed when the reservoir was filled in the mid-1950s, but some ancient foundations and artifacts remain in the lakebed,” the newspaper explains.

Whenever water levels drop due to the drought that particularly hits this region of the United States, tourists can see the ruins in places like Salmon Falls, Red Banks and Mormon Island, according to the Folsom Lake Recreation Area.

Visitors can be fined if they tamper with the remains of the site.

Ghost town

On the border between Spain and Portugal, the remains of a small town that had been uninhabited and flooded emerged from the depths in early 2022 due to drought caused by lack of rain.

With the Concello de Lobios dam at 15% of its capacity, the details of a life frozen in 1992 — when the town of Aceredo in the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia was flooded — are revealed once again.

“It’s like I’m watching a movie. I have a sad feeling,” he told Reuters Maximino Pérez Romero, 65, a resident of A Coruña. “My feeling is that this is what will happen over the years because of the drought and all that, with climate change.”

Flooded village emerges from a reservoir after a drought 0:53

Tourists walking on cracked ground in parts of the area found partially collapsed roofs, brick and wooden debris that once formed doors or beams, and even a drinking fountain with water still gushing from a rusty pipe.

Crates of empty beer bottles were stacked next to what used to be a cafe, and an old semi-destroyed car was rusting by a stone wall. Drone footage showed the abandoned buildings.

María del Carmen Yáñez, mayor of the municipality of Lobios, of which Aceredo is a member, blamed the situation on the lack of rain in recent months, particularly in January, but also on what she described as “quite aggressive exploitation” by the Portuguese electric

With information from CNN’s Megan Marples

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