SHOYNA, Russian Village

Local residents say more than 20 houses have been completely buried. Boardwalks take the place of sidewalks on the village streets. It wasn’t always like this — life in the barren landscape is likely a man-made environmental disaster.

In the years after World War II, Shoyna was a thriving fishing port. But overfishing probably ruined the area’s ecosystem. Trawlers scraped the sea floor clean of silt and seaweed.

And with nothing to hold the sand in place anymore, waves started washing it ashore. This disruption of the seabed, perhaps combined with a natural change in the bed of the river that flows through Shoyna and into the White Sea, is the best suspect to blame, said Sergey Uvarov, the marine biodiversity project coordinator for world wildlife in Russia.

But no formal environmental studies of the region have been conducted. sergey took this photo of a house submerged in Shoyna

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