5 Lakes That Are Disappearing Before Our Eyes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Lakes That Are Disappearing Before Our Eyes

Most people know that water is a precious resource. Between climate change and the needs of the world’s ever-growing population, water is vanishing more and more rapidly. Many bodies of water around the world aren’t what they once were. You may even be aware of water shortages in your area. And while some water sources are gradually diminishing, other cases are much more dramatic. The following are five lakes that are tragically disappearing before our eyes.

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The Dead Sea — Israel and Jordan

The Dead Sea — Israel and Jordan

Credit: aeduard/ iStock

The Dead Sea is a remarkable place for many reasons. Tourists flock to the area because you can swim in the sea and float due to the salinity of the water. The salt and mineral-rich mud are known for their health benefits, another big draw. The Dead Sea is also the lowest place on Earth at 430.5 meters (or 1,412 feet) below sea level!

Unfortunately, the water level is decreasing by about a meter per year. The water loss is primarily due to the fact that one of its main water sources, the Jordan River, was dammed in the 1960s. As the population grows, water from this river goes to maintaining crops and supporting the human community in the region. And because of the tense political climate, the potential solution of creating a pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea has been hard to implement. There’s still a lot of water left in the Dead Sea, but if you want to see this anomaly of nature and float in the water yourself, you might be smart to go sooner rather than later.

Lake Poopó — Bolivia

Lake Poopó — Bolivia

Credit: FernandoPodolski/ iStock

Lake Poopó is a tragic example of what can happen when humans divert too much water from a lake. This lake was once the second-largest lake in Bolivia, but now it’s all but completely dried up. Some stark aerial photos from NASA show the lake is virtually gone. This is a huge loss considering the lake saw highs of up to 3,000 square kilometers (1,200 square miles). Since the lake was always shallow, the locals are used to fluctuations in the size of the lake.

The current disappearance is not good news for the local communities that rely on the lake for fish. However, those who have been in the area for a long time have seen this before. The lake dried up entirely in 1994 because of drought and evaporation, and eventually replenished itself. So there is hope that the lake will fill back up, and the ecosystem will eventually rebuild. The rainy season in Bolivia is from December to March, so if the drought doesn’t drag on, the lake could potentially fill back up.

The Aral Sea — Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

The Aral Sea — Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

Credit: Daniel Prudek/ Shutterstock

This sea that lies on the border of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan used to be the fourth-largest lake in the world, with only Lakes Superior, Victoria, and the Caspian Sea being larger. But when the water was diverted in the 1970s, the lake slowly began to dry up, and now only 10% of the water remains. The disappearance of the water is especially distressing for communities that used to live off of the fishing industry. The BBC describes the demise of this sea as “one of the most dramatic alterations of the Earth’s surface for centuries.”

A visual reminder of the death of this lake, perhaps for people who weren’t alive before the 1970s when the lake was full, are the stranded ships that accidentally ran ashore as the water levels dropped. The mud dried, and the landscape became a desert, with the boats as relics of what once was. People who used to farm and fish in the region have had to look for other means of income, and many have struggled to do so.

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Poyang Lake — China

Poyang Lake — China

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Poyang Lake was once China’s largest freshwater lake. The size has always been hard to define due to the fluctuations throughout the seasons. Now, however, Poyang Lake is nearly gone due to drought and the diversion of the Yangtze River. Unlike some of the other disappearing lakes, the former lake is now an eerie grassland instead of a desert. However, if the drought continues, the land could quickly turn to sand and dirt like we’ve seen in the Aral Sea.

Some aerial photos reveal bizarre paths in the grass from people cutting through the lake bed. The disappearance of the lake certainly affects the logistics of the surrounding cities and towns. For example, the city of Nanchang used to sit right on the water’s edge. Now the shoreline is over 15 miles away. And all this change has happened in just the last century. Animal activists are especially concerned about the impending extinction of a finless porpoise that mainly lives in Poyang Lake.

Lake Chad — Chad, Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon

Lake Chad — Chad, Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon

Credit: HomoCosmicos/ iStock

Lake Chad in Africa is another story of a once-enormous lake shrinking because of irrigation, climate change, and a steadily-growing population. This African lake has shrunk by 90% since the 1960s and is the water source for 20 to 30 million people. Is there any hope for restoring its waters?

Some propose routing water from the Congo River. The main problem with that is that the river is over 2,400 kilometers away (1,500 miles), and the governments of the four countries who share the lake (Chad, Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon) are having a hard time coming to a consensus. Proponents of the plan suggest that if they can refill the lake, it would ease the crisis of nearly 11 million people in the region who need humanitarian aid to survive.

India: Army Guarding Water In Madhya Pradesh

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Army men guard water body in Madhya Pradesh district to check overdrawing

The army men are patrolling a 12-km stretch near the Chitora stop dam, preventing them from drawing water, allege the villagers.

INDIA Updated: Dec 11, 2019 05:30 IST

Anupam Pateriya
Anupam Pateriya

Hindustan Times, Bhopal/Sagar
Army officials say the water body was designated to army by the Sagar municipal corporation in 1995.
Army officials say the water body was designated to army by the Sagar municipal corporation in 1995. (HT Photo)

The army cantonment in Sagar, 186 km from Bhopal, and residents of around 12 villages in the same district have been locked in a dispute over water from the Chitora stop dam.

Matters have reached a stage where half a dozen army men have been deployed to guard the stop dam, the source of water for the cantonment as well as farmers from the villages. The army men are patrolling a 12-km stretch near the dam, preventing them from drawing water, allege the villagers. In the past fortnight, they add, the army men have seized 14 electric water pumps and water pipes.

Chitora village sarpanch, Vijendra Singh, said: “This unusual step by the army has caused problems for irrigating farmland. Every year, we used to irrigate our crops with the water from this dam but this year they (the army men) are being very strict and are even stopping the farmers from tapping water from canals connected to the dam.”

Army officials say the water body was designated to army by the Sagar municipal corporation in 1995.

Sagar Army Headquarter Commandant, Colonnel Munish Gupta, said: “This is not the first time we have deployed a patrolling party. We are guarding our quota of water which was permitted by the Sagar municipal corporation.”

Sagar Municipal Corporation commissioner RP Ahirwar said, “It is true that we have permitted the army to draw water from Chitora stop dam but why are they stopping villagers from drawing extra water from canals and dam. We will inquire in the matter.”

“Last summer, we faced an acute water shortage. So, this year we came up with a strict plan to guard the water. So far, army men have seized as many as 14 electric motor pump of farmers for disobeying the army order to not take water from the water body,” Commander Gupta added.

Vinod Thakur, a farmer of Barkheri village is one such farmer who had his pump seized. “I was irrigating my land with an overflowing canal connected to the dam but the army patrol seized my motor and pipe. Now, I don’t know how to irrigate my 12 acres of land.”

The villagers claim the water body has traditionally irrigated their land.

Farmer Jahar Singh said: “This water body has been a source of drinking water for us for so many years. We have lodged a complaint with the district administration against the army. We urged the district administration to clearly demarcate the water body earmarking water for the army and the villagers.”

Local BJP MLA, Pradeep Lariya added: “Farmers are facing trouble and the district administration should come up with a solution. If the army is claiming it is their water, what arrangement has the administration made for irrigation of farmers? Things should be cleared by the administration to prevent any further confrontation.”

Deputy director of agriculture department, GD Nema, said, “This is an illogical step by army men as the district received 1717 mm rainfall this year, which is higher than average rainfall of 1124 mm and there is no fear of water crisis. Due to good rainfall, the sowing area of rabi crop has increased from 3 lakh hectare to 3.5 lakh hectare. If farmers don’t get water, it will affect the production of wheat.”

Sagar district collector, Preeti Maithil, said the administration is “looking into the matter.”

5 Cities Most at Risk With Rising Sea Levels

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

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5 Cities Most at Risk With Rising Sea Levels

There are 570 coastal cities that could be impacted by rising sea levels by the 2050’s, affecting some 800 million people, according to C40 Cities. Cities along the Atlantic coast in the U.S. and various parts of Asia are under the greatest threat. Here’s a look at the cities most at risk if sea levels rise significantly.

Miami, Florida, U.S.A.

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Located on the southeastern tip of Florida, this low-lying city will be completely inundated with flood waters if sea levels rise as some predict. With a population of over 2.7 million, the entire Miami-Dade county is only an average of six feet above sea level, making it an easy target for flooding.

The city is trying to address the problem with $500 million worth of infrastructure changes and the installation of pumps and floodgates, according to NPR.

Alexandria, Egypt

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Located on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, the city of Alexandria is already feeling the effects of climate change. If sea levels continue to rise at the current rate, an estimated 3 million people would be directly affected, and millions more would eventually be displaced, according to The Guardian.

The drastic impact from rising sea levels is worsened by the Nile, the longest river in the world, which empties into the Mediterranean Sea near Alexandria. The low-lying river delta in this area continues to flood, causing the loss of much-needed crops in this heavily populated city, according to NPR. Climate change is also causing hotter temperatures and beach erosion. This is hampering tourism in the area, which is a very important aspect of the city’s economic livelihood, according to NPR. Making matters worse, the average elevation of the area is only 16 feet above sea level.

Osaka, Japan

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This large port city on the Japanese island of Honshu has been aware of the threat of climate change for a while. There has been massive coastal flooding in areas of the city, including its airport. According to The Guardian, an estimated 5 million people will be directly impacted by the rising sea levels, and an additional 6 million could be displaced in the city’s surrounding region.

Like other major coastal cities, Osaka has been updating its infrastructure in an attempt to combat the rising waters. Unfortunately, in a study by the Institute for Global Change Adaptation Science in Japan, it was found that the current designs for these walls may be insufficient against a prospective higher sea level.

Hong Kong, China

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The fate of this global financial hub depends on how high temperatures rise. A rise of just 2 degrees Celsius puts Hong Kong’s entire population of 7.4 million people at risk, along with many more in the surrounding coastal areas, according to The Guardian. A warm-up of more than 2 degrees could be catastrophic. The average elevation of Hong Kong varies, but it is typically only about 4 feet above sea level, worsening the situation.

Shanghai, China

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All of China’s coastal cities are at risk, according to GBTIMES. Its largest city, Shanghai, with a population of 24.2 million, is unfortunately at the forefront. Scientists have been warning the city for many years that it is already a major flood risk due to its dense population on the low-lying coast and its abundance of rivers, canals and other waterways, according to The New York Times.

According to The Guardian, 17.5 million people will be affected if sea levels rise to the current expectation. At just 13 feet above sea level, the city has been installing massive flood prevention walls in an attempt to prevent future problems. Only time will tell if these efforts help.

China outlines integrated development of Yangtze River Delta

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

China outlines integrated development of Yangtze River Delta

Xinhua
China outlines integrated development of Yangtze River Delta

Xinhua

The mouth of the Yangtze River on Shanghai’s Chongming Island.

The Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council on Sunday jointly issued an outline of the integrated regional development of the Yangtze River Delta.

The document outlined targets, requirements and measures to boost the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta and build a regional cluster of high-quality development.

As one of China’s most economically active, open and innovative regions, the Yangtze River Delta boasts strategic significance in the country’s modernization and further opening-up, which makes its regional integration crucial for leading the country’s high-quality development and building a modern economic system.

The outline, mapping development for a 358,000-square km expanse that encompasses Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province, Anhui Province and Shanghai Municipality, consists of 12 chapters.

Tasks specified in the outline include establishing a coordinated innovative industry system, enhancing connectivity of infrastructure, strengthening environmental protection, advancing public services and building the Shanghai free trade zone under high standards.

The document detailed development goals to be achieved by 2025 and offered visions into 2035.

By 2025, the Yangtze River Delta is to see substantial development and basically realize integration in the science and innovation industry, infrastructure, environment and public services, said the document.

To fulfill integrated development in the science and innovation sector by 2025, the ratio of the region’s R&D spending to its gross domestic product (GDP) should top 3 percent, while its output of high-tech industries should account for 18 percent of total industrial output.

In the same period, connectivity of infrastructure will be represented by improvements in railway and expressway density and a 5G network coverage of 80 percent.

The outline also laid out environment standards to be met by 2025 in terms of PM2.5 density and energy consumption per unit of GDP.

By 2025, accomplishments in public services should put per capita fiscal expenditure at 21,000 yuan (about 2,987 U.S. dollars) and extend the average life expectancy to 79 years, according to the outline.

The outline also called for a unified market system marked by openness and the free flow of resources.

Looking further into the future, the outline envisioned the Yangtze River Delta as the most influential and robust driving force of the nation’s development by 2035.

8 of the Largest Man-Made Lakes in the World

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

8 of the Largest Man-Made Lakes in the World

Humans (and beavers) have been manipulating water flow for millennia, but it wasn’t until recently that we developed the materials we’d need to create enormous bodies of water. Once we did, we created some of the largest lakes and inland seas the Earth’s ever held. Here are eight of the largest man-made lakes in the world.

Williston Lake | British Columbia, Canada

Credit: WildLivingArts/iStock

70 Billion Cubic Meters

Williston Lake was formed in 1968 with the completion of W.A.C. Bennet Dam, blocking the Peace River and creating the largest body of freshwater in British Columbia. Besides being a huge source of electricity, the lake’s nice to look at. It’s bordered by the Cassiar Mountains to the west and the Rocky Mountains to the east, both being striking natural features. In fact, Williston Lake comes close to a fjord in some respects.

Krasnoyarsk Reservoir | Divnogorsk, Russia

Credit: Evgeny Vorobyev/Shutterstock

73.3 Billion Cubic Meters

Besides its massive size (a size that’s earned it the informal name of the Krasnoyarsk Sea), the Krasnoyarsk Reservoir’s claim to fame is being the world’s largest power plant from 1971 to 1983. In 1983, it was unseated by the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State. The reservoir and the dam also appear on the 10 ruble bill, meaning most Russians have at least seen the thing in a picture, if not in person. A final note on the dam is the fact that a substantial section of the river below it doesn’t freeze over, even though it’s in frigid Siberia. This is because the water’s moving much too fast coming out of the dam and for miles downstream.

Manicouagan Reservoir | Quebec, Canada

Credit: Elena11/Shutterstock

138 Billion Cubic Meters

The Manicouagan Reservoir is a perfect intersection of human engineering and natural phenomena. Human engineering produced the reservoir when the Daniel-Johnson Dam was built in the 1960s. The natural aspect concerns the reservoir’s unique ring shape. The shape was created by an asteroid impact roughly 214 million years ago. That means Manicouagan Reservoir is actually a flooded crater, similar to Crater Lake (except Crater Lake is far younger and a volcano). There’s a theory that the Manicouagan crater is actually part of a multiple impact event spanning modern day North America and Europe.

Guri Reservoir | Bolivar, Venezuela

Credit: CarmeloGil/iStock

138 Billion Cubic Meters

It doesn’t look like the publicity around the Guri Reservoir is entirely good. For one, apparently the Guri Dam generates more carbon emissions than the fossil fuel alternative, which is about as hard to do as you’d think. There have also been some substantial blackouts in the 21st century, and the reservoir has a tendency to fall below optimum levels for electrical production. Still, it’s a big lake, right?

Lake Volta | Ajena, Ghana

Credit: Robert_Ford/iStock

153 Billion Cubic Meters

Just like all the other lakes on this list, Lake Volta wouldn’t be around without a dam to fill it up. In this case, it’s Akosombo Dam, built between 1961 and 1965. Interesting to note about Lake Volta, before the dam was built, the Black Volta and White Volta rivers used to meet, but once the lake started filling in, that confluence was wiped away. It’s a navigable lake, which was probably part of the point of building the dam. With it, the trip from the savanna to the coast and vice versa got a lot easier.

Bratsk Reservoir | Bratsk, Russia

Credit: fibPhoto/Shutterstock

169 Billion Cubic Meters

As much as we hate to play into stereotypes, it seems like Russians really know how to handle the cold. The Bratsk Dam was built through Siberian winters, far away from the things needed to build it, including supplies, laborers and construction support. But they did it anyway and ended up with the Bratsk Reservoir to show for it. The reservoir is on the Angara River and just to show it’s not a one-off, there are four other power-producing facilities on the same river, with stations in Irkutsk, Ust-Ilim and Boguchany.

Lake Nasser | Egypt and Sudan

Credit: Shootdiem/Shutterstock

169 Billion Cubic Meters

The construction of the Aswan High Dam, and by extension the formation of Lake Nasser, came with some uniquely Egyptian challenges. Namely, the fact that a large number of historical sites would be submerged by the filling lake, with the tombs and temples of Philae and Abu Simbel at the greatest risk. Luckily, the Egyptian government didn’t plow ahead the way other countries have been known to. The Egyptians worked with UNESCO to move the sites to higher ground.

Lake Kariba | Zambia and Zimbabwe

Credit: Lynn Yeh/Shutterstock

180 Billion Cubic Meters

The impressive Lake Kariba is an excellent example of lake creation done right. The dam produces plenty of electricity for the surrounding area, and its existence has given rise to a thriving tourism industry and also increased biodiversity. There was a short five-year period when the rate of earthquakes increased, but that hasn’t stuck around. What has is the tiger fish, tilapia, catfish and vundu, all supporting a strong fishing industry. And the water. A truly awesome amount of water has stuck around. It’s closer to an inland sea than anything else.

India: In PM Modi’s water guarantee plan, expect 55 litres/day per person

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

In PM Modi’s water guarantee plan, expect 55 liters/day per person

The water fund will likely be modeled on the lines of a similar one for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the national sanitation scheme, called the Swachh Bharat Kosh.

INDIA Updated: Aug 29, 2019 14:51 I ST

Saubhadra Chatterji and Zia Haq
Saubhadra Chatterji and Zia Haq

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A man drinks from a water pipe along a highway on a hot summer day near Krishna Nagar metro station in New Delhi.
A man drinks from a water pipe along a highway on a hot summer day near Krishna Nagar metro station in New Delhi. (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)

The Narendra Modi government is likely to fix a threshold limit of assured household water supply and also set up a dedicated fund for its ambitious mission to provide piped water to every rural Indian household by 2024, officials familiar with the matter said.

The water fund will likely be modeled on the lines of a similar one for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the national sanitation scheme, called the Swachh Bharat Kosh. The Swachh Bharat Kosh had been set up to channel philanthropic contributions and corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds towards the cause of sanitation. The water fund is likely to be called Rashtriya Jal Jeevan Kosh.

Officials are giving finishing touches to the modalities of “Nal Se Jal” (water from taps), which entails providing potable water to households. The scheme will then be put before the Cabinet for approval. The proposals include assured water supply in the range of 43-55 liter per capita per day (LPCD), depending on the season, with a lower limit being proposed for lean periods, officials involved in the process told HT.

Piped drinking water to rural households is a critical component for achieving universal access to safe drinking water in a country where, in 2015, 163 million Indians lacked access to clean water, the highest for any country, according to the NGO Water Aid.

A key benchmark is that piped water supply at 55 LPCD under normal conditions should be available within household premises or at a distance of not more than 100 meters from the house.

A sizable chunk of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) budget will go towards the Jal Jeevan mission, the government’s overall program to conserve water and augment supply.

The mission’s priority is to alleviate the water crisis in 254 severely water-stressed districts of the country.

The government has also set a deadline of March 2020 by which it expects to complete the mapping of all water sources and aquifers in these districts.

Initial estimates, officials said, are that nearly ~1 lakh crore from MGNREGS might be required for supply-side management, which involves restoring water bodies and canals.

Currently, the job scheme earmarks more than 60% of its funds for water-related works.

In the current financial year, almost 1.9 million person days, out of a total of 2.58 billion estimated person days of work under NREGS, will be used for water and agriculture-related works.

In 2014, months after coming to power, the Modi government announced a Swachh Bharat Kosh to allow individuals, philanthropists and CSR funds to contribute to the efforts to achieve the objective of “clean India” (Swachh Bharat).

An official in the rural development ministry said that there will be a lot of convergence between the work done by the rural ministry on water body restoration and the supply of water for Nal Se Jal.

“The water conservation projects funded and undertaken in MGNREGS will provide the base for the Nal Se Jal scheme,” a senior rural ministry official said.

The Jal Shakti ministry aims to provide piped drinking water to 19.5% of rural households during 2019-20 under the Jal Jeevan mission, according to targets set in the Budget 2019-20, a second official said.

Experts say implementation gaps in the rural water mission should serve as a cautionary tale, as targets have been routinely missed.

“There has been a huge gap between the government’s stated objectives and actual delivery in the rural drinking water scheme,” said Himanshu Thakkar of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People.

According to a 2018 Comptroller and Auditor General audit of rural piped water project, “poor execution of work” resulted in “work remaining incomplete, abandoned or non-operational as well as unproductive expenditure on equipment with a financial implication of ~2,212.44 crore”.

In 2018-19, just 18.2% of rural households could be provided access to piped water supply under the National Rural Drinking Water Mission , the predecessor to the Jal Jeevan Mission. This is way short of the missed 2017 target of covering 35% rural households.

First Published: Aug 29, 2019 01:23 I ST

3 Things You (probably) Never Knew About the Great Lakes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Things You Never Knew About the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes—Superior, Erie, Michigan, Huron, and Ontario—are home to one-fifth of the freshwater surface on Earth. Formed 14,000 years ago, with coastlines stretching more than 10,000 miles, they feature a lot of liquid and beachfront real estate for locals, visitors, and international tourists. And while you might know their names and what you can do there, here are three things you probably didn’t know about The Great Lakes.

They’re Home to the Largest Freshwater Coastal Dune System in the World

Credit: RudyBalasko / iStock

Tourists and locals are drawn every year to the many coastal dunes surrounding the Great Lakes and for good reason. The Great Lakes are home to the largest freshwater coastal dune system in the world, and Lake Michigan alone is bordered by more than 275,000 square acres of dunes.

A number of national and state parks along the Lake Michigan coastline offer visitors a chance to enjoy the sun and adventure through the dunes. Many provide unique Great Lakes freshwater dunes opportunities—like breathtaking views and organized outings—not found anywhere else in the world.

Lake Superior Has A Shipwreck Museum and Historical Society

Credit: ehrlif / Shutterstock.com

Fishing, shipping, passenger transport, and recreation were all reasons for ships to traverse the waters of the Great Lakes over the last few centuries, and travel by water is inherently dangerous. Hundreds of ships of all shapes and sizes have sunk beneath the water in each of the five interconnected lakes.

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society in Paradise, Michigan, was first founded with a focus around Whitefish Point on Lake Superior. The organization has spent the last 40 years—in collaboration with its shipwreck museum and underwater research efforts—searching for and documenting sunken vessels during the diving season each year.

The Shipwreck Museum is open to the public from May 1 through October 31. Visitors can view exhibits, attend book signings, take part in fundraising fun runs, and explore shipwreck coasts on guided kayak treks.

Lake Michigan Had a Pirate Problem

Credit: donfiore1 / Depositphotos

The waters of Lake Michigan are infamous for their 19th century pirate problem, during which a trio of swashbucklers terrorized its waters. The Great Lakes pirates were notorious for selling timber, stealing liquor, or being strangely pious, but most were more cap-and-sweater-wearing sea rogues than they were sword-wielding Jack Sparrows.

Jack Rackham, aka Calico Jack, is likely the Great Lakes pirate who people are most familiar with from fictionalized appearances in pop culture. He’s famous for his bright clothing and was known to steal fishing tackle and boats on Great Lakes waters. “King” James Jesse Strang led his religious gang, from Beaver Island on Lake Michigan, in the burning of sawmills and pillaging of goods from local stores during the mid-19th century.

Roaring Dan Seavey was the only man to be formally charged as a pirate on the Great Lakes. Once a U.S. Navy sailor, Seavey nefariously put up lights in dangerous places along Lake Michigan’s coastline to lure ships to fake coves and plundered the wreckage.

Both the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum (mentioned above) and Alpena Shipwreck Tours can pull back the curtain on pirate activity in the area and give visitors a tour of the old pirate stomping grounds.

5 Things You Never Knew About the Bermuda Triangle

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Things You Never Knew About the Bermuda Triangle

The the triangular swath of ocean between Bermuda, Miami and Puerto Rico is known to many as the Bermuda Triangle. However small this portion of the Atlantic may be, it has a legendary reputation. The so-called “Devil’s Triangle” has seen numerous planes and ships lost within its confines. But why? We may never know. Until then, satisfy your thirst for answers with five things you never knew about the Bermuda Triangle.

Its Strange History Dates Back Hundreds of Years

Its Strange History Dates Back Hundreds of Years

Credit: GParker/Shutterstock

While traveling through the Bermuda Triangle, Christopher Columbus wrote about a blazing fireball that crashed into the sea, strange lights in the distance and a malfunctioning compass. Later, in 1611, William Shakespeare based his play The Tempest off of a 1609 shipwreck that occurred in the Bermuda Triangle. And in 1918, the U.S.S. Cyclops disappeared while traveling between Barbados and Chesapeake Bay. The ship never sent a distress call and all 300 men aboard, as well as the ship itself, were never found.

Flight 19 May Be the Most Puzzling Disappearance

Flight 19 May Be the Most Puzzling Disappearance

Credit: orangecrush/Shutterstock

It all started as a routine mission. On November 5, 1945, five torpedo bombers took off from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. At the helm were experienced military personnel and trained pilots. Within an hour, the flight leader, Lt. Charles C. Taylor, reported erratic compasses and confessed to not knowing his location. Although the U.S. Navy in Fort Lauderdale attempted to locate Taylor and the rest of the crew, the planes disappeared from the radar and the radio went static. Neither the planes nor the pilots were ever found. To make matters worse, the rescue planes sent after Flight 19 disappeared as well. To this day, no one is sure what happened to Lt. Taylor and the rest of the Flight 19 crew.

There Are Scientific Explanations for the Strange Occurrences

There Are Scientific Explanations for the Strange Occurrences

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Many of the ships and planes that vanish within the Bermuda Triangle are never found. However, much to the chagrin of conspiracy theorists, scientists have a reasonable explanation for this phenomenon — the Gulf Stream, a strong Atlantic current that runs right through the Triangle, sweeps the wreckage debris out to sea. Scientists also believe that methane hydrates could be responsible for the area’s high volume of sinking ships, according to LiveScience. And when Bruce Gernon believed he traveled through time while flying through the Bermuda Triangle? The explanation is as simple as a strong tailwind caused him to travel faster. Plus, as a regular path for maritime ships, this heavily trafficked area of the ocean is bound to have more accidents — especially when you take its unpredictable weather into account.

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It’s Home to a U.S. Navy Facility

It’s Home to a U.S. Navy Facility

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Andros Island of the Bahamas is home to the U.S. Navy Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center (AUTEC). This facility tests submarine, sonar and other weapons, all within the underwater area of the Bermuda Triangle. Since there isn’t a lot of public information about the nature of operations at AUTEC, there are numerous conspiracy theories behind the mysterious facility. Sometimes called Underwater 51, some theorists believe they are testing and/or creating the strange electromagnetic properties found in the Triangle.

It Contains an Underwater City

It Contains an Underwater City

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In 2001, Pauline Zalitzki, a marine engineer, and Dr. Paul Weinzweig, her husband, were commissioned by the Cuban government to explore the coast of Cuba. In search of shipwrecks, they instead discovered what is now known as the “Cuban underwater city.” Using advanced sonar equipment, the couple found what is believed to be an ancient civilization on the ocean floor. The geometric stonework was built with large blocks of carved granite and stacked in a deliberate nature. Contributing to this mystery is that fact that it would have taken 50,000 years for the structure to sink into the ocean, according to Underground Science. And since no known culture had the architectural knowledge for such complex structures, marine geologist Manuel Iturralde concluded the ancient city was “out of time and out of place.” Is it the Lost City of Atlantis or remnants of an alien civilization? It’s possible we’ll never know.

4 Crazy Facts About the Yangtze River

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

4 Crazy Facts About the Yangtze River

From its source in Tibet’s Tanggula Mountains, the Yangtze River (aka Chang Jiang or Ch’ang Chiang) meanders eastward for 3,915 miles across China before emptying out into the East China Sea. It is the world’s third-longest river—behind the Nile (4,132 miles) and Amazon (3,977 miles)—Asia’s longest, and the longest to flow entirely through one country. These facts make the Yangtze River one of the world’s great watercourses and for centuries it has played a key role in Chinese culture. Here are four more interesting facts about the river.

The River Has More Than 700 Tributaries

The River Has More Than 700 Tributaries

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About 8 million gallons of water empties from the river into the East China Sea every second, and the river’s upstream area has a flow of around 70,000 cubic feet per second. Contributing to this water flow are an incredible 700 tributaries, made up of lakes, rivers and streams. The most important of these is the 952-mile long Han River, the Min River and Yalong River. Chao Lake and Shanghai’s Lake Tai also feed the river.

Over 50 Bridges Span the River

Over 50 Bridges Span the River

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The Yangtze once served as geographic border between northern and southern China, and until 1957, there were no permanent bridges. Today, more than 50 bridges and dozens of tunnels provide pedestrian, rail and road connections to the millions of people that cross the water on a daily basis. Among them is Runyang Bridge, which with a 4,890-feet-long central span is in the top five longest suspension bridges in the world. The 1,811-feet-long Chaotianmen Bridge is the world’s longest arch bridge. Before the inauguration of the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge in 1960, passenger trains had to be disassembled and transported by ferry.

It is Home to the Deepest Gorge in the World

It is Home to the Deepest Gorge in the World

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On its route around the Yunnan region of western China, the river passes unblemished landscapes made up of forested mountains, glaciated peaks, and steep gorges. This area forms part of the UNESCO-listed Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas. Within it is the spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge, where 13,000-feet-tall mountains and 6,600-feet-high cliffs rise above both sides of the riverbanks. It’s possible to hike to the canyon on a multi-day trekfrom the town of Qiaotou. A 10-mile trail runs the entire length of the gorge and the highest section is among China’s finest hikes.

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350 Fish Species Inhabit the River

350 Fish Species Inhabit the River

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Some of China’s greatest biodiversity exists in the river basin, not least the vast amount of fish native to the waters. There’s Chinese paddlefish, giant Yangtze sturgeon, silver carp, and yellow catfish, among others. The Chinese puffer fish is both one of the world’s most venomous fish and a Chinese delicacy. Also inhabiting the waters are rare and endangered species such as the Chinese alligator, finless dolphin, giant salamander, and giant softshell turtle. The State Council of China has proposed a complete ban on fishing by 2020.

5 Cities Most at Risk With Rising Sea Levels

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Cities Most at Risk With Rising Sea Levels

There are 570 coastal cities that could be impacted by rising sea levels by the 2050’s, affecting some 800 million people, according to C40 Cities. Cities along the Atlantic coast in the U.S. and various parts of Asia are under the greatest threat. Here’s a look at the cities most at risk if sea levels rise significantly.

Miami, Florida, U.S.A.

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Located on the southeastern tip of Florida, this low-lying city will be completely inundated with flood waters if sea levels rise as some predict. With a population of over 2.7 million, the entire Miami-Dade county is only an average of six feet above sea level, making it an easy target for flooding.

The city is trying to address the problem with $500 million worth of infrastructure changes and the installation of pumps and floodgates, according to NPR.

Alexandria, Egypt

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Located on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, the city of Alexandria is already feeling the effects of climate change. If sea levels continue to rise at the current rate, an estimated 3 million people would be directly affected, and millions more would eventually be displaced, according to The Guardian.

The drastic impact from rising sea levels is worsened by the Nile, the longest river in the world, which empties into the Mediterranean Sea near Alexandria. The low-lying river delta in this area continues to flood, causing the loss of much-needed crops in this heavily populated city, according to NPR. Climate change is also causing hotter temperatures and beach erosion. This is hampering tourism in the area, which is a very important aspect of the city’s economic livelihood, according to NPR. Making matters worse, the average elevation of the area is only 16 feet above sea level.

Osaka, Japan

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This large port city on the Japanese island of Honshu has been aware of the threat of climate change for a while. There has been massive coastal flooding in areas of the city, including its airport. According to The Guardian, an estimated 5 million people will be directly impacted by the rising sea levels, and an additional 6 million could be displaced in the city’s surrounding region.

Like other major coastal cities, Osaka has been updating its infrastructure in an attempt to combat the rising waters. Unfortunately, in a study by the Institute for Global Change Adaptation Science in Japan, it was found that the current designs for these walls may be insufficient against a prospective higher sea level.

Hong Kong, China

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The fate of this global financial hub depends on how high temperatures rise. A rise of just 2 degrees Celsius puts Hong Kong’s entire population of 7.4 million people at risk, along with many more in the surrounding coastal areas, according to The Guardian. A warm-up of more than 2 degrees could be catastrophic. The average elevation of Hong Kong varies, but it is typically only about 4 feet above sea level, worsening the situation.

Shanghai, China

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All of China’s coastal cities are at risk, according to GBTIMES. Its largest city, Shanghai, with a population of 24.2 million, is unfortunately at the forefront. Scientists have been warning the city for many years that it is already a major flood risk due to its dense population on the low-lying coast and its abundance of rivers, canals and other waterways, according to The New York Times.

According to The Guardian, 17.5 million people will be affected if sea levels rise to the current expectation. At just 13 feet above sea level, the city has been installing massive flood prevention walls in an attempt to prevent future problems. Only time will tell if these efforts help.