Photo by: Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Austria's Grüner See Has A Park That's Underwater All Summer

This emerald-green lake is one of Austria's most beautiful bodies of water.

August 01, 2019

If you visit Austria's Grüner See during fall, you might stroll over a picturesque bridge and take a seat at a park bench to listen to the birds sing in the trees. If you visit in summer, however, those same activities would require scuba gear. From late spring through early summer, the park is fully submerged underwater.

Photo by: Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Rise from the Runoff

Located in Styria, Austria, Grüner See—Green Lake, in English—is surrounded by the Hochschwab Mountains, which are famously snow-covered for much of the year. In the late summer, fall, and winter, the lake is around 21,500 square feet and surrounded by your standard park furnishings, perfect for hikers to rest and take in the surrounding area.

But when the snow begins to melt at the start of spring and into July, the lake slowly grows larger. Its surface area doubles to more than 4,000 square meters (43,000 square feet). Its depths climb from 1 meter (3 feet) to 12 meters (39 feet) at its deepest. The benches, the pathways, the bridges, and many surrounding trees are underwater, but small crabs and a few species of trout then have more room to breathe. With all this framed by the panoramic views of the Hochschwab Mountains, Grüner See becomes a breathtaking natural spectacle. It isn't named "Green Lake" for nothing: the surface really does have a striking green hue, thanks to the grass and foliage submerged underneath.

Look, But Don't Touch

If you're there to hike, Grüner See is an essential stop on the trails. However, because of its relatively newfound popularity, the local parks department has made all watersports illegal—that includes scuba diving, one of its most alluring tourism pulls. Swimming, fishing, boating, fetch-playing with your water-loving dog, and other water activities have been prohibited as well.

But the prohibition is for good reason: with all that sediment-stirring traffic, the green color might be lost and corrosion might gradually change the landscape. Better to not risk it than to open the gates simply because we want to see underneath its surface during the height of the melting season. For now, we'll have to live vicariously through the internet's wealth of videos, and maybe the tides will turn for scuba enthusiasts someday.

This article first appeared on Curiosity.com.

Next Up

Why Do People Live Near Active Volcanoes?

Volcanoes have a lot to offer local residents.

A Spot in Washington Is One of Only 12 Silent Places Left in the U.S.

The most endangered sound on Earth doesn't come from a near-extinct animal or an outmoded form of transportation — it's silence.

Massive Stone Jars in the Highlands of Laos Are Shrouded in Mystery

A grassy plain in the Laotian highlands are home to thousands of huge, ancient stone jars. Visit Discovery.com to learn about the mysterious details that have puzzled researchers for decades.

What 200 Hours of Rowing Does to the Human Body

The Impossible Row team burned through over 100,000 calories each from start to finish.

Andros, Bahamas Has More Than 200 "Blue Holes" — And They're Mostly Unexplored

Learn about the more than 200 underwater cave systems that make Andros a scuba diving mecca at Discovery.com.

Holy Land, U.S.A is an Abandoned Christian Theme Park With A Dark Past

The theme park included a Garden of Eden, life-sized scenes from the Bible and statues of Jesus.

A Life-Changing Voyage to Antarctica

Take a trip to explore Antarctica. It's not just a physical experience but a spiritual adventure that you won't forget.

The City Of Troy Was Real. The Trojan Horse? Not So Much.

Turns out the epic wooden horse that gave the Greeks their victory was all a myth.

Exorcisms, the Ark of the Covenant, and Ethiopia: The Adventures of Justin Fornal

"There are all different kinds of demons inside of people, some of them go easy, some want to negotiate, others want to fight."