30 November 2012

November morningrise on the Danube

Autumn has arrived to the banks of the Danube. Dense fog hides in its side arms, between the trees. Rays of sunlight can only lift the vapor by noon. The unflinching river surface reflects river birds travelling southbound, like silver mirror. Dry leaves cover the parched river bed, which will be covered by ice and snow in weeks. Silence everywhere. Autumn has come to the Island of Göd too. For the photographers, and our utmost delight.

27 November 2012

The swollen Margaret Island

If we go through the admirable photo collaction of Fortepan.hu with an eye got used to geomorphology, we can find a lot of interesting changes in the Hungarian landscape. So it is with Budapest's favourite island, the Margaret Island. Its name comes from Saint Margaret, daughter of the Hungarian King Béla IV. In the 30s, an unknown tourist captured this view from the Buda Castle. This photo has preserved the memory of the Víziváros, Margaret Island, further the Népsziget and the northernmost Palotai Island covered with dense forest.

But there is something strange with the Margaret Island. Its western side is quite barren, as if a real estate investor has just chopped the forest to build more hotels. But that is not the case. To understand, why the island looked like this, we have to go back in time.

24 November 2012

Danubian archipelago on fire - archive pictures of the bombing of Hungary, 1944

Busy death is seeking this era... Fortepan.hu, a famous collection of old photographs has just published several pictures, taken from american bombers over Hungary, late summer and autumn in 1944. Dichotomy hides in these pictures. On one hand the Danube is rolling along in bright sunshine. We almost see the bathers on the sandy banks, as they cover their eyes from the sun, watching the approaching bombers in the sky. On the other hand, young american soldiers look down on the countryside, patterns of cities, roads, fields and meadows, like an outstreched map, on which red crosses are indicating the facilities, industries, bridges, railroad junctions to be destroyed. They let loose their deadly load as easy as pushing a button. And when completed their mission, they fly back to Italy, happy to survive the fires of the anti-aircraft batteries. And on one plane, a frightened photographer documents how much they managed to complete from the day's work.

I only selected these pictures, that have something to do with the Danube. Our trip begins in the Hungarian west, and we will go along the Danube, first eastbound, then we turn south in the Danube Bend. 

22 November 2012

Geography of Saint Florian

Enns. A less than 254 km long tributary of the left side of the Danube. Starting from the Radstäter Tauern and initially heading to east, after a sharp break it turns north, cutting through the narrow alpine limestone ranges in the Gesäuse Gorge. Forming a boundary between Lower and Upper Austria, it flows into the Danube at the city of Enns, at the 2112 river kilometer. Its average water charge is 195 m3/s, but in time of flood they also measured 1020 at it. Its color is greenish blue, due to the sediments transported from the Alps. In 304 they drowned in this river Florian, the veteran Roman army officer, at the bridge of Lauriacum.
The bridges of Enns city over the Enns river

11 November 2012

Traces of a mighty paleo-Danube in the Altmühl Valley

The morphology of the river valleys depends on the amount of the water delivered. By morphology we do not only understand the width of the valley: the term also includes the development of the bends. The more abundant the water discharge of a river is, the larger bends it forms. If we consider that the water discharge of a river varies widely even within a year, the more so it was in the various geological ages. The bend development of long abandoned riverbeds indicate the water discharge conditions of old ages. Therefore, a geographer always becomes suspicious if he sees a small brooklet – that cannot be even properly called a stream – running in a large and wide valley. The Wellheim valley in Bavaria is such a place.

The ancient riverbed forms of the Wellheim dry valley. Source: urdonautal.info

08 November 2012

Record discharge measured on the Drava!

The record discharge on the Drava was surpassed today. At the city of Ptuj they measured 3100-3200 m³ per second, which surpassed by 500 m³ the highest ever measured value of 1965. To compare this data, the Danube's discharge at Budapest was 1760 recently. Within days they can observe at the mouth of the river a rare hydrologic phenomenon, when the fourth largest tributary of the Danube will deliver twice as much water as the main river.
Lavamünd under water, 06. 11. 2012. (photo: Standard.at)

02 November 2012

The Danube is blooming!

End of August I received many emails and calls from the blog's readers, that there has been a miracle all along the river. THE DANUBE IS BLOOMING! They sent me some pictures as well to illustrate the hatching of the mayflies. According to the recent drastic water quality improvement, the famous "Tiszavirágzás" (the Tisza river blooming) phenomenon has to prepare for a challenge. It is a distinct possibility, that the blooming Danube will attract as many tourists and nature lovers in the future just like it's major side-river nowdays. Now let's see the reports of our readers, how they saw the bridal dance of these extremely short-lived mayflies!

raczger: IMG 1357