This week, a 400 year old church emerged from a drought-hit reservoir in Mexico. Known as the Temple of Quechula, the church has been submerged under 100ft of water since 1966, but thanks to climate change is guest-starring in its former environment again. In fact, the water level in the Nezahualcóyotl reservoir in Chiapas state has plunged by 25m due to drought in the area, causing the old building to reappear.
I find this image disturbing. It’s as if it’s risen from the depths, urging atheist and believer alike to pray for our future in the light of changing global sea levels.
Other things that have popped out to say ‘hi’ recently as a result of climate change drought include Jewish tombstones in Poland’s Vistula River that were apparently used to shore up the river banks in the 19th century. Will the families of those deprived of their grave-markers get their missing tombstones back? And who knew the climate could be so helpful in revealing historical anti-Semitism?
[Source: AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski]
Also in Poland, a Soviet fighter plane downed in 1945 has been uncovered due to drought. I doubt very much that Putin will want that back, and I wonder whether the Polish authorities will even ask him.
Other assorted finds coming to light include the bits, pieces and bodies of ancient civilisations in North America. One study says more than 200 artefacts in 43 melting patches have been uncovered in the past 20 years, including bows and arrows.
And just to show melting ice doesn’t favour NATO countries, Russia has had its share of historical pop-ups. Melting ice has revealed the 2000 year old frozen tombs of the Scythian civilisation – preserved in the permafrost of the Altai Mountains (shared by Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan). The retreating ice is thawing out the entombed bodies, which are now rotting away and taking all their unique secrets with them.
All of which is ironic, really. Because just as the earth starts yielding up some heavy weight information about how we lived thousands of years ago, it is preparing to return us to a similar subsistent way of life.
If you haven’t already seen them, check out the work of Parisian photographer, Francois Ronsiaux, earlier this year. He imagined what would happen when ice sheets in the north and south melt – pushing ocean levels up by 300m. If this ever comes to pass, we better hope the future has underwater archaeologists; it’ll take a lot of flippers and masks to find the secrets of our civilisation.
You can see more of his amazing pics here: http://www.theguardian.com/news/gallery/2015/feb/13/cities-underwater-imagining-a-300m-sea-level-rise
© gvons 2015