Bodies newly discovered in Lake Mead show climate change's effect


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  last year  •  16 comments

By:   Marlene Lenthang

Bodies newly discovered in Lake Mead show climate change's effect
The shoreline of Nevada's Lake Mead receding has led to the discoveries of two sets of human remains and cracked open the mystery of the watery depths and what may be hidden below.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

The shoreline of Nevada's Lake Mead receding has led to the discoveries of two sets of human remains and cracked open the mystery of the nation's largest reservoir's watery depths and what may be hidden below.

Even more bodies are likely to come to light, police say, as water levels continue to drop and drought grips the area, further exposing secrets long obscured in the underwater grave.

This isn't the first time an environmental crisis — which has seen temperatures rise, water levels dip, drought persist and wildfires rage across different areas of the nation — has unmasked strange sights.

Climate change has unearthed human remains, plane crash debris and missing vehicles in depleting bodies of water, as well as frozen corpses on thawing mountain peaks.

Here's a look at some of the grim discoveries.

Two bodies pulled from shrinking Lake Mead

Boaters enjoying the spring day at Lake Mead made a jarring discovery May 1: a metal barrel that appeared to contain skeletal remains.

"We believe this is a homicide as a result of a gunshot wound," Lt. Ray Spencer with the Las Vegas police said.

Efforts are underway to identify the victim, who investigators believe was killed between the mid-1970s and the early 1980s, based on clothing and footwear, Las Vegas police said.


Receding waters reveal body stuffed in barrel on shore of Nevada's Lake Mead

The remains likely emerged because the reservoir has hit historic lows and is down to about 30 percent capacity. Last month, water levels reached below an intake valve that began supplying Nevada customers in 1971.

Just six days after the barrel discovery, another set of skeletal remains was found at Callville Bay within Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the National Park Service said. However, in this case, Las Vegas police said there was no evidence to suggest foul play.

While more bodies may be found there, the dwindling water levels and ongoing drought is a crisis officials are racing to tackle. Lake Mead, created by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, is a major lifeline providing water for about 40 million people across seven Southwestern states.

Frozen 'mummies' found on melting mountaintops

The perilous journey to scale Mount Everest is a notoriously dangerous trek that Reuters reported has claimed around 300 lives, according to a Himalayan database. Victims are sometimes left on the peak, as it is too dangerous to transport them out. Long buried under snow and ice, some of those bodies have surfaced due to rising temperatures.

"Because of global warming, the ice sheet and glaciers are fast melting and the dead bodies that remained buried all these years are now becoming exposed," Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, told the BBC in 2019.

"We have brought down dead bodies of some mountaineers who died in recent years, but the old ones that remained buried are now coming out," he added.

Similarly, in the Swiss Alps in 2017, the frozen bodies of a couple who went missing 75 years prior were found due to melting ice.

170718-switzerland-mummified-couple-found-se-1119a-2cf9d4.jpg The mummified remains of a Swiss couple who went missing and were found in a glacier in the Diablerets mountains, in southern Switzerland, in a photo made available July 18, 2017.Glacier 3000 / via AFP - Getty Images

Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin, the parents of seven children, had gone to milk their cows in a meadow above Chandolin in the Valais canton on August 15, 1942, but never returned, Reuters reported.

Their bodies were found remarkably preserved in a glacier, and their belongings were intact, witnesses said at the time.

It was believed that they fell into a crevasse.

"As the glacier receded, it gave up their bodies," Bernhard Tschannen, then-director of ski lift company Glacier 3000, told the newspaper Tribune de Geneve, Reuters reported at the time.

In 2014, the mummified bodies of two Austrian soldiers from World War I emerged due to glacier melt around the small Italian ski resort of Peio. The soldiers, who had gunshot wounds, had reportedly died in a battle between Austro Hungarian troops and the Italian army.

Receding California lake reveals decades-old plane crash mystery

Last summer, a drought in California lowered water levels of Folsom Lake to the point that sonar technology detected the remains of a nearly intact plane at the bottom of the reservoir.

The plane was detected under 160 feet of water at the lake, located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, the Placer County Sheriff's Office said then.

At first it was believed to be from a 1965 New Year's Day crash that killed four people. The sheriff's office said it was determined that the aircraft was from a 1986 case where the plane went down with no fatalities reported.

Body found in Lake Powell because of lowering water levels

Dropping water levels at Utah's Lake Powell led police to discover a body in a vehicle in the water on Aug. 16.


The Garfield County Sheriff's Office said officials extricated a body on Aug. 16 from a vehicle that fell 600 feet off a ledge into Lake Powell.Garfield County Sheriff's Office via Facebook

The vehicle was believed to have been possibly missing since September 2020, the Garfield County Sheriff's Office said in a statement in August, noting it was found "due to the receding waters at Lake Powell."

Officials believed it fell 600 feet off a ledge into the lake near Hite Marina.


jrDiscussion - desc
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1  Buzz of the Orient    last year

Maybe the body of Fredo Corleone will wash up on the shore of Lake Tahoe.

Professor Principal
1.1  devangelical  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    last year

that's a deep lake. he's still sleeping with the fish...

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  devangelical @1.1    last year


Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    last year
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     last year

Finding bodies is a story but the bigger story is the drought that is causing havoc in the west. When I lived in Las Vegas Lake Mead was down 120 feet. I see now that is down 160 feet and one of the intakes that supply water to 90% of Las Vegas is above the waterline. Las Vegas saw this coming and put in two new intakes that were below the original three. It took years to complete it but as we can see now it was the right thing to do. 

Both Mead and Powell are at 30% of capacity. This is a very serious situation.

Professor Principal
2.1  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @2    last year

it is very serious and it's testing the colorado river water compact. been to mead once, been to powell more than 50 times. now is a great time to explore cliff dwellings and see dinosaur tracks that have been underwater for half a century. the stripers will probably eat all the other species. I keep a map of powell from 1968 that show most locations. I shook RFK's hand at powell in '67, ogled some hollywood personalities, and then set fireworks off with his kids while the park rangers looked the other way.

Professor Quiet
2.2  cjcold  replied to  Kavika @2    last year

Pretty stupid to build a gambling resort in a desert. Only a guy named Bugsy would.

Greg Jones
Professor Guide
3  Greg Jones    last year

No scientific evidence that the drought is caused by climate change, that's simply speculation. The demand for water exceeds the long term average recharge rate.

Professor Quiet
3.1  Ronin2  replied to  Greg Jones @3    last year

Too damn many people living in areas w/o enough water and resources. Politicians don't want to fix the problem; because they can't admit the problem even exists.

Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
3.2  Thrawn 31  replied to  Greg Jones @3    last year

Except 99% of the scientific community vehemently disagrees with you. But sure, you are that Einstein and we should listen to you.

Professor Principal
4  Ender    last year

How come we see no work on desalinization plants.

Greg Jones
Professor Guide
4.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Ender @4    last year

Ask Biden.

Professor Principal
4.1.1  Ender  replied to  Greg Jones @4.1    last year

One thing that has an impact on a lot of people and nothing to do with politics and then your comment.

Some people just can't help themselves I guess.

Professor Principal
4.2  Kavika   replied to  Ender @4    last year

The largest desalinization plant in the western hemisphere is in Carlsbad CA (San Diego area). It opened in 2015

Steve Ott
Professor Quiet
5  Steve Ott    last year

To me, water should be the number one issue on people's minds. You will not last much longer than a week, if that, without it.

Anyone have a hurricane gun they aren't using? Maybe loan it to Nevada?

Drinker of the Wry
Sophomore Expert
5.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Steve Ott @5    last year

It appears that the Adelaide, Australia Desalination System is an example of how an environmentally sustainable solution. I think that it has been in operation now for around 12 years with many lessons learned.


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