Photos show what Tower Rock, a limestone formation in the middle of the Mississippi River, looks like before and after severe drought dropped water levels

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photo of large limestone rock formation in the middle of a river stitched with a different photo of the same rock in dried up river
Side-by-side exhibits what Tower Rock looks like when water levels are regular versus when they’re low

  • Tower Rock, a limestone formation in the middle of the Mississippi River, is newly accessible by foot. 
  • The vacation spot is now fashionable with vacationers, the Missouri Department of Conservation mentioned. 
  • The Mississippi River is experiencing historic low levels, possible resulting from local weather change.

Tower Rock, a 400-million-year-old limestone formation often surrounded by the waters of the Mississippi River, is now turning into a fashionable customer vacation spot, due to the river’s historic low levels.

Located in Perry County, Missouri, Tower Rock is often solely accessible by boat however has now develop into a haven for vacationers who wish to stroll up and take a nearer look. 

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, the rock, which stands proud 60 ft above standard water levels, is just accessible by foot when the water levels are under 1.5 ft at the Mississippi River Chester Gauge, positioned close to a part of the river between Illinois and Missouri.

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However, the outcrop might quickly develop into inaccessible as soon as once more. Officials at the MDC project a 3.5 ft rise at the Chester gauge as early as this weekend.


“This season’s dry weather created conditions that have attracted numerous visitors to the area over the past few weeks,” MDC Southeast Regional Administrator Matt Bowyer said in a press statement.

Bowyer additionally warned that guests shouldn’t climb Tower Rock, and observers ought to stay cautious whereas strolling out on the dry river mattress.

“The Mississippi River is still a very dangerous waterbody, even during low conditions,” he mentioned. “Please use caution. And as always, pack out what you pack in. Do not leave litter behind.”

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Tower Rock was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1970.

Photo of a 60-ft limestone rock surrounded by water
A view of Tower Rock when water levels are greater

Despite the summer time flooding of the Mississippi River, the Midwest is now in a period of abnormal to moderate drought. The area, together with the Ohio River and the Upper Mississippi River valleys, has not obtained sufficient rain to maintain standard water levels, Insider’s Morgan McFall-Johnsen and Paola Rosa-Aquino reported.

These variable river circumstances are in step with scientists’ predictions of local weather change creating extra unpredictable climate occasions.

Tower Rock has develop into accessible by foot a handful of times over the previous decade.

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As drought circumstances in the Midwest have more typical in recent years, with the ability to stroll to Tower Rock might develop into extra commonplace.

“This is the new normal,” Olivia Dorothy, a director at American Rivers, informed local station KSDK. “Climate models have predicted that this region will shift to being prone to very long and dramatic droughts that will be punctuated by extreme fluctuation and flooding.”

The Missouri Department of Conservation didn’t instantly reply to Insider’s request for remark.

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