In Nevada’s Lake Mead, where water levels have dropped to historically low levels due to a drought brought on by climate change, a third set of human remains were discovered on July 25.
The National Park Service said that the remains were discovered by a witness at Swim Beach on Lake Mead on the afternoon of July 25. The remains were found, according to the park service.
As the drought-stricken reservoir, which provides water to 25 million people throughout the Southwest, has fallen to historic levels, these are at least the third set of remains to have been discovered.
The remains of a person who looked to have been shot in the head and placed inside a barrel in the lake were found by boaters in May. A second set of bone remains were found on the lake a little less than a week later by two sisters paddleboarding.
The recently discovered remains, according to experts, are probably only the beginning. Relics from the past may continue to be uncovered from receding seas as human-caused climate change heats the world and exacerbates droughts.
According to Jennifer Byrnes, a forensic anthropologist who works with the Clark County coroner’s office, “I would assume human remains of missing folks would probably be uncovered over time, as the water level continues to drop,” she told Insider in May.
According to forensic anthropologist Eric Bartelink of California State University’s Chico Human Identification Lab, cases that had been buried for years have come to light as a result of the water levels lowering.
He said, “It’s simply going to show more things that were in water that you typically wouldn’t have access to very readily. For us, it’s really just possibly more opportunity to identify missing individuals and greater possibility that certain instances are going to be identified.”
The precipitous decline in water levels, which have fallen to their lowest point since the reservoir was constructed in the 1930s, was recently seen by NASA satellite images. The water level reached 1,040 feet as of Wednesday (317 meters). The lake’s greatest height, which was last attained in 1999, is 1,220 feet (372 meters).
The space agency stated in a news release earlier this month that “the biggest reservoir in the United States delivers water to millions of people across seven states, tribal territory, and northern Mexico.” This drought, which may be the longest in the US West in 12 centuries, now serves as a harsh demonstration of climate change.
Additionally exposing artifacts and remains are wildfires, melting glaciers, and sea level rise.
Melting glaciers as a result of rising average global temperatures are also exposing artifacts and human remains that had been concealed.
The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, which has its headquarters in Hawaii, has been working for the past ten years to locate the remains of 52 service personnel who perished in 1952 when their military transport plane collided with an Alaskan mountain.
Gregory Berg, a forensic anthropologist who oversaw the team that investigated the remains that surfaced from the melting glaciers, told reporters at a press conference in 2013 that “as the glacier melts and the glacier advances, more stuff comes up to the surface.”
According to William Taylor, an archaeologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, melting ice has lately revealed delicate, previously frozen artifacts in western Mongolia and Norway, including old tools, rope, spears, and arrows.
Taylor stated in The Conversation in 2021 that due to glacier melting, scientists have a limited window of time to safeguard these relics before they are harmed or deteriorated by weather and exposure to the environment.
Additionally, sacred and important cultural places may be under risk from rising waters. According to Byrnes, coastal erosion and increasing sea levels are exposing ancestral bones that were once buried in Hawaii along the shore.
She stated in May that “encroaching seas are eroding out such cemeteries and human remains will continue to be uncovered.”