Bodies and more surface as largest US reservoir hits all-time-low

The United States' largest reservoir has dropped to its lowest water levels since it was first filled, revealing bodies and more.

Published Aug 4, 2022 6:33 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Aug 26 2022 5:03 AM CDT
1 minute & 19 seconds read time

Lake Mead, the United States' largest reservoir, has dropped to its lowest level since the Hoover Dam was built to contain it.

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The levels are their lowest since April 1937, when the reservoir was still being filled for the first time after the Hoover Dam's construction was completed in 1936. As of July 31st, 2022, Lake Mead is only 27 percent full, with the level of water elevation at the Hoover Dam dropping to 1,040.92 feet (317.3 meters) above sea level, compared to 1199.97 feet (341 meters) near the end of July 2000.

The lake's elevation reaches 1,220 feet (372 meters) at maximum capacity, and to continue the operation of the hydropower turbines at the dam, the water level should stay above 1000 feet. The continually dropping water levels have revealed numerous surprises, however, such as the body of a murder victim inside a barrel on May 1st.

Only six days later, the bones of another person were uncovered as the water receded, with predictions being made that more would turn up. On July 25th, that prediction came true, with more human remains turning up at Swim Beach in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Additionally, other oddities like a World War II-era boat, ancient arrowheads and more have surfaced.

Read more: Multiple bodies found as lake drops to record lows from drought

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Lake Mead between July 6, 2000 and July 3, 2022. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

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Lake Mead on July 6th, 2000. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

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Lake Mead on July 3rd, 2022. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

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