Mississippi River Drought Reveals Sunken Ship

Drought conditions across the United States have resulted in significant and eerie findings, including a recent shipwreck uncovered in the Mississippi River.

The ship is considered to have sunk in 1915, and it recently became visible after water levels have become shockingly low in the Mississippi River.

The boat was found by Patrick Ford, who lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as he was scouring for interesting items at the river’s edge, according to WBRZ.

“Explore your surroundings, get to know where you live and what’s around, beyond just what’s in front of you … take a walk, see what’s out there,” Ford said.

“This past Sunday I was out here looking and realized the rest of the shore had washed away, and there was an entire ship there,” Ford reportedly said to WBRZ. “I immediately texted friends and was like, ‘Holy moly, I think I found a ship, a sunken ship!’”

Chip McGimsey is the Louisiana state archeologist and has been examining the shipwreck over the past two weeks. He said archaeologists “believe this is a ship that was manufactured in 1896 in Indiana for trade here.”

The boat’s presence in the major river won’t always be apparent. “Eventually the river will come back up and [the ship] will go back underwater,” McGimsey said. “That’s part of the reason for making the big effort to document it this time — cause she may not be there the next time.”

McGimsey noted that he thinks the vessel might be the Brookhill Ferry, a ship that probably transported people and wagons across the river prior to the construction of massive bridges.

The ship has been spotted due to low water levels in the past, and McGimsey noted that small pieces of the boat were visible in the 1990s.

“At that time the vessel was completely full of mud and there was mud all around it so only the very tip tops of the sides were visible, so (archaeologists) really didn’t see much other. They had to move a lot of dirt just to get some narrow windows in to see bits and pieces,” McGimsey said.

Now, though, people can see much more of it — around one-third of the vessel. He said that 90% of the remaining half of the shell can now be seen.

“For the most part, there are not good documents on boat building, especially when you get back into the area of wooden boats,” McGimsey said. “They have a lot of individuality in these boats, and there are so few of them remaining. This is a rare example of one from around 1900.”

Low precipitation levels have been a major factor in contributing to the Mississippi River’s drastically low water. The river is a vital part of the area’s economy, and the low levels have already impacted barges and shipping movements.

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