Thursday, January 10, 2013

The flooded ruins of Villa Epecuén

Villa Epecuén was a tourist village located in the Buenos Aires Province of Argentina. Built in the shores of Lago Epecuén, a lake with salt levels 10 times higher than the ocean's and known for its therapeutic powers, it reached a population of 5,000 in the 1970's. There were 280 businesses, including lodges, guesthouses, and hotels. 

On November 10th, 1985 long lasting wet weather conditions caused the enormous volume of water to break through the rock and earth dam and inundated much of the town under four feet (1.2 meters) of water. By 1993, the slow-growing flood consumed the town until it was covered in 10 meters of salt water. 

Nearly 25 years later, in 2009, the wet weather reversed and the waters began to recede. The ruins of Villa Epecuen started coming back to the surface. Only one local, the 81-year-old Pablo Novak returned back to his old town. 

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The former slaughterhouse of Villa Epecuen, Argentina, among a stand of long-dead trees

Rusty bedframes poke out of the rubble of a building in Villa Epecuen

The front end of a ruined vehicle after more than 25 years of being immersed in salt water

A ghost forest at dusk in Villa Epecuen

The road leading to the cemetery of Carhue, near Villa Epecuen

81-year-old Pablo Novak, the lone inhabitant of Villa Epecuén

A man compares a photograph of Villa Epecuen taken in the 1970's with the current state of the place, after almost 25 years beneath the water of Lago Epecuen

Lakeside At Lago Epecuen in the early 1980s

Villa Epecuen circa 1984



  1. There was a movie filmed there semi-recently: And Soon The Darkness with Odette Yustman, Karl Urban, and Amber Heard.

  2. Lago Epecuén its not a mountain lake. in fact, it is in the middle of the pampa...

  3. Love the pics, I really like the before and afters. This reminds me of the saltan sea in California. Very similar esthetic stop the woods and buldings. (What's left of them anyway.)


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