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Water Levels Give Way To History

Low water levels in Missouri give us a glimpse of history

All across the midsection of the US, drought is causing the water levels to drop so much that we’re getting a glimpse of history.

The Mississippi may be shutting down over this problem, but in the meantime we’re seeing steamboats and a minesweeper surface. At least five wrecked steamboats are once again seeing the light of day and open air from St. Charles to Bridgeton, and one was the largest vessel to ever tread these waters.

The Montana was a steam boat built in 1882, says Dr. Steve Dasovich, a Lindenwood University archaeologist who took part in an underwater survey of the ship back in 2002.

The Montana struck a tree below the surface in 1884 and was piloted aground. There she’s sat since then, a period of 128 years, says Fox2Now.

On Friday, Dasovich stated:

“Every time the river’s low, and it may not be a drought here, it could be way upstream, but I get calls about the Montana and other wrecks along the river whenever the river’s down.”

Dasovich adds about the Montana:

“There isn’t anything left on it. People always want to go check it out. There’s a few odds and ends and things that show up once in a while, but with the nature of the river they could be from something else. Things just roll on down the river.”

In September, the rusted USS Inaugural became visible again, A World War II minesweeper that was once moored along the Mississippi River as a museum at St. Louis before floodwaters tore it away twenty years ago. It now sits, orange-rusted hulk lying on its side not far from a south St. Louis casino.

Mississippi river drought

Perhaps most interesting, a rock containing what could be an ancient map has emerged in the Mississippi River in southeast Missouri, says Yahoo News.

The rock contains etchings believed to be over a millennium old. It was not in the river back then, but the changing current now normally puts it under water — exposed only in periods of extreme drought. Experts fear giving a specific location out of fear that looters will take a chunk of the rock or scribble graffiti on it.

Dasovich states that:

“It appears to be a map of prehistoric Indian villages. What’s really fascinating is that it shows village sites we don’t yet know about.”

Some good can come from a drought after all, but we should still hope it doesn’t break the water level record for the duration.

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