Sunday, May 12, 2013

Atlantis Rising Part Two: Argentine City Once Submerged Beneath Water Resurfaces

(Photo Courtesy of Natacha Pisarenko and Newser)

Like the ghostly specter of the Apocalypse, a city in Argentina once completely submerged beneath water has risen from its watery grave, similar to a town in Indiana that resurfaced during last summer's unbelievable drought.

Almost thirty years ago, the town of Epecuen was a bustling, lakeside resort of over two thousand residents, many who catered to tourists and vacationers who flocked to the area during the country's "Golden Age" to escape the hustle and bustle of the capital city of Buenos Aires, some 500 kilometers away. This was decades before the virtual collapse of the Argentine economy and devaluation of the nation's monetary unit the peso. People came in droves to take advantage of the town's saltwater baths and spas, which were reported to have curative medicinal qualities.

After a series of extremely wet winters and a near record-breaking deluge of rain, the water of the lake began to overflow its banks on November 10, 1985. The water then burst through a retaining wall constructed to protect the town from flooding and began to spill into the streets of Epecuen. The town's citizens ran for their lives, grabbing only what they could as they fled their homes. Within days, the once-lovely tourist Mecca was submerged beneath more than 10 meters (33 feet) of highly-corrosive salt water.

Fast forward 28 years and the town of Epecuen—almost totally lost and forgotten to history—has experienced a rebirth. Due to continued dramatic changes in the climate, most of the waters that had enshrouded the town for almost thirty years have now receded, revealing a spooky, post-Apocalyptic vision, with abandoned streets strewn with the detritus of a past civilization: rusted out automobiles, corroded homes and businesses, and water-logged trees and wooden electrical poles.

Now, the town is back on the tourist map. Thousands of people are now returning to Epecuen—not to enjoy its once- famous spa baths, but to take photographs of the eerie, alien landscape, which now resembles a set for a zombie movie. (I'm sure it won't be too long before someone—I'm talking to you Eli Roth—films a horror flick here.)

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