MONTHS of drought have left the Rhine river and the Danube river at a record low, dealing a blow to the economy and exposing relics from the past.

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The dried out Rhine river bank in front of Cologne’s Dome. Picture: AFP

THE docks are eerily quiet at Cologne’s main port on the mighty River Rhine, with hundreds of containers piled up and awaiting their journey north on one of Europe’s busiest commercial arteries.

Months of scarce rainfall and hot sunny weather drove water levels on the Rhine to a record low, forcing ship operators to suspend services to keep vessels from running aground.

We haven’t had any new ships in Cologne since last week — they stop in Duisburg 80 kilometres north“, Oliver Grossmann, head of shipping company CTS, told AFP. Under normal conditions, “three or four” of his big vessels would stop each day in the city known for its Gothic cathedral.

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The Rhine river is at record low level in Cologne, Germany. Months of drought have exposed a World War II bomb and forced ship operators to halt services to prevent vessels from running aground. Picture: Patrik Stollarz/AFP

The few barges still chugging along the river have had to drastically reduce their cargo to stay afloat. Sitting in his office overlooking the mountain of containers, Grossman said rail links can only fill part of the gap as long as river transport is paralysed because of a lack of infrastructure and train engineers.

At the entrance to the port of Duisburg, a small tower houses a Rhine measuring station. On its roof are two LED panels reading 5.09 feet.

This is the lowest level ever measured here,” said Jan Boehme, a hydrologist with the Water and Shipping Authority. The previous low water record set in Cologne in 2003 of 81 centimetres was shattered last Friday when the level dipped to just 77 centimetres, the water authorities said.

All along the Rhine, the situation looks similarly dire

Since July, the water levels have been lower than we normally see in this season. This drought phase is exceptionally long. For water levels to rise again we would need a lot of rain — a little shower won’t do it. We need extended, intense, widespread rainfall,” Mr Boehme said, noting that in October it usually fluctuates between three and four metres.

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The river bed of the Rhine is dried in Dusseldorf, Germany, as the heatwave goes on. Picture: Patrik Stollarz/AFP

Although the link is not proven beyond a doubt, German authorities say the extreme dry weather matches the models of climate change drawn up by scientists.

The Rhine is hardly the only major waterway affected, with levels on the Elbe leading to Hamburg also dangerously low.

Bicycles and bombs resurface

The drying-up of large swathes of the Rhine marks a heavy blow to the German economy. In 2017, 186 million tonnes of goods were transported between Basel in Switzerland and the German-Dutch border — amounting to around half of European river shipping, according to the Strasbourg-based Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine.

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The Rhine river is at record low level in Cologne, Germany. Months of drought have exposed a World War II bomb and forced ship operators to halt services to prevent vessels from running aground. Picture: Patrik Stollarz/AFP

But since the dry spell began, industrial giant Thyssenkrupp has had to cut back production at its Duisburg plant “because a sufficient supply of raw material cannot be assured”, a company spokesman said.

Chemicals giant BASF said it had “adapted” production due to “limited deliveries” to its Ludwigshafen factory, also on the Rhine.

Energy group RWE is struggling to supply its Hamm power plant with coal. Meanwhile in Cologne, despite mild autumn weather, services on tourist boats and ferries has ground to a near standstill.

The sinking of water levels has dramatically altered a picturesque stretch of the German landscape, exposing all manner of wrecks and detritus on the banks and under bridges.

Abandoned and long-submerged bicycles have resurfaced by the hundreds. More threateningly, a 50-kilo World War II bomb emerged in the dried-out riverbed and had to be gingerly defused.

Meanwhile, another majestic river, the Danube in Romania, was hit by the terribly hot summer 2018 and the resulting smallest summer precipitation over the past 70 years.

Although the economy is also greatly suffering, the drying up of the mystic river has allowed a group of archaeologists from Ferenczy Múzeumi Centrum to carry out unexpected excavations, which turned out very successful.

They indeed found ancient coins, gold, weapons and other artifacts.

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Archeologists found gold coins along the dried up Danibe river in Romania. via Ferenczy Múzeumi Centrum
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Archeologists have discovered treasures in the dried Danube river near Bucharest in Romania. via Ferenczy Múzeumi Centrum
Archeologists also found some ancient artifacts along the dried riverbank of the Danube. via Ferenczy Múzeumi Centrum
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Amazing acheological finds along the dry Danube River in Romania. via Ferenczy Múzeumi Centrum

This intense drought in Europe will make history: economically and archeologically!

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6 COMMENTS

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  4. Matthew 24:3-14 (KJV)
    3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
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  5. The planet’s axis tilt has shifted. It is causing heatwaves in the summer and bitter cold winters. On the summer solstice the sun was 4000 miles farther north than it should have been. It will look normal during the spring and fall equinoxes because the equator is still the center whether the tilt is normal or 4000 miles beyond the tropics. However, if you look at the sun on June 21st, you will see it rising and setting toward the north. This past summer, it continued to move farther north in mid July until it was just 5 degrees from being true north. This was the first time the sun continued to move north after the summer solstice. It indicates an alteration in the orbit as well.
    There are also underground tunnels being bored all over the world. The US is like swiss cheese as our gov’t connects all the maglev train tunnels between all the USAF bases and major cities. I’ve been underground in some of the cities. The tunnel boring machines are called TBM’s and you can pull up images of them on Google. Some of these cracks and sinkholes are causing the water in the lakes and rivers to pour down into the tunnels. Other cracks are being caused by the moon’s gravitational pull tearing apart the planet as it tries to maintain its orbit around the planet. The abnormal movement of the planet is causing tsunamis, quakes and volcanic eruptions as the planet tries to shift onto its side like Uranus. We can only notice this by the changes in weather and the changes in star layout on the summer solstice. You can’t see it during the spring and fall due to the equinoxes being the same and centered over the equator. But if you look on June 21st you will see it best. Last summer was the worst and we were nearly horizontal but cannot be confirmed until June. Everyone thinks such a change would have Hollywood effects. It doesn’t. The changes are in our weather and geological activity. To understand this, we rotate at 1000 mph but no one can feel it unless something interferes with the rotation. Then we get a tidal wave (tsunami). The more the ice melts at the south pole, the more we shift. Just an inch of ice is enough to cause a shift when the heatwaves melt it. The arctic circle last summer reached 106F degrees. We should see the same in southern Australia, South Africa, southern South America and antarctica. The south pole acts as a gyroscopic anchor maintaining the tilt of the axis.

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