A screenshot of the enigmatic symbols. YouTube.

Massive Drought Exposes Mystery Lakebed Symbols

Dongting, the second-largest freshwater lake in China, has seen its water levels reduced by 70 percent. The drought revealed a series of strange symbols.


Speculation about ancient civilizations and aliens has been sparked by giant patterns exposed at the bottom of a lake in China by a drought. In Hunan province, Dongting is the second-largest freshwater lake in China. It is 2,800 square kilometers in size. Its water levels have been reduced by 70 percent due to months of intense drought, revealing various boxy patterns in its marshes. The patterns in question were described as “giant mazes” by one local, Hu, who took aerial videos. Yang Xinwei, another local from the area, said that there was no evidence that the patterns were constructed by people.

Massive symbols

Seeing those patterns is amazing. The blocks are as big as a football field. The patterns inside those square blocks are similar to those found in bone inscriptions. According to him, some traces can extend up to 10 meters. According to a member of the East Dongting Lake Management Committee, there is no evidence of ancient tombs in the area, which has always been underwater. One of the official theories as to what the enigmatic symbols are is connected to illegal fishing activities. The odd symbols could be the result of ancient “ai wei,” or short fences in English. It is believed that illegal fishermen built fish traps in the lake years ago. The fish are forced into the enclosures when the water rises and trapped when the water recedes. As part of an anti-illegal fishing campaign in 2018, the government dismantled the traps.

Fishing traps or something else?

An expert on water management from Shanghai Yishui Environment Technology Company also suggested that the patterns were those of old fishing traps. Yangtze River connects Dongting Lake. Depending on how much Yangtze River water enters or leaves the lake, its water level rises or falls. As a result, fishermen are able to fish more easily with this type of trap. Eight million people have viewed the videos on TikTok (Douyin in China), and many have enthusiastically speculated as to what the patterns may mean. Some speculated the symbols were made by long-lost civilizations. Others suggested the enigmatic markings were remnants of buildings. Others suggested that aliens had to be involved in creating the symbols. Whatever the case, it is worrying that such a massive river has dried up.


Have something to add? Visit Curiosmos on Facebook. Join the discussion in our mobile Telegram group

Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

Write for us

We’re always looking for new guest authors and we welcome individual bloggers to contribute high-quality guest posts.

Get In Touch