Ghost Town Under Water: What Happened To The Argentinian Village Of Epecuen?

By Philip Ross on May 10, 2013 5:39 PM EDT

ghost town
The lakeside village of Epecuen in Argentina’s Buenos Aires Province was once a bustling tourist town, until it was inundated by the very same lake waters that drew tens of thousands of tourists to its shores every year. (Photo: Creative Commons)
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In 1985, heavy rains caused the lake to overflow and the city streets to flood. Residents fled with what little belongings they could carry as the village sank beneath the lake water. (Photo: Creative Commons)

A ghost town, submerged under water for 25 years, has finally resurfaced -- and it's attracting lots of attention from curious travelers. Now an eerie landscape of rusted out automobiles, crumbling buildings, spindly trees, broken appliances and water-logged furniture, the Argentinian village of Epecuen is a poignant reminder that nature bows to no man or woman.

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Located 340 miles south of the capital of Buenos Aires, Epecuen was once a bustling tourist town nestled on the eastern shore of the Laguna Epecuen, a saltwater lake in Argentina's Buenos Aires Province. AP reports that the saltwater lake was particularly attractive to tourists because of its high salt content. It especially appealed to members of Buenos Aires' large Jewish community, because the salty lake wasn't much different than the Dead Sea in the Middle East.

"The saltwaters of Lake Epecuen are famous for their therapeutic powers, and the town's baths and spas used to draw in as many as 20,000 tourists a season," BBC reports.

So what happened to Epecuen, once a lively lakeside resort with a population of 1,500 residents and 20,000 annual tourists?

According to AP, the village witnessed a particularly heavy rainstorm in November of 1985 that caused the lake to overflow its banks. Water came bursting through a retaining wall, flooding the lakeside streets. After 20 days, the town was completely underneath the water.

Inhabitants of Epecuen took up residence in nearby Carhue, another lakeside village, and opened up new spas and hotels there.

And after the waters recently receded -- more than 25 years later -- nature leaves in its wake a village marred by the lake's corrosive salt water that is somehow hauntingly beautiful.

Read more from iScience Times:

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Hurricane Sandy Update: Saltwater in Flooded Subways Could Cripple System 'For A Year Or More' According To Study

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