Shocking Things Found In Ice
Here are some truly shocking things found in ice!Knowledge
From a satellite view, it can seem like a lot of our planet is covered in ice. But despite what it looks like, ice covers up just 10% of the Earth’s surface. This percentage has fluctuated wildly over the years, with Ice Ages covering up to 30% of the world in ice at any given time!
But as temperatures have risen and the ice from these periods has receded, people have discovered strange things that were once frozen solid within them. From chilled cavemen to deadly diseases, and even snowy symbols from an extraterrestrial civilization, let's take a look at some of the most shocking things ever found in the ice.
Alien Eggs On Utah Lake
Back in 2013, Jason Nilson decided to go for a wintry walk with a pal across a frozen lake in Utah. For as far as the eye could see there was just ice, ice, and more ice. That was until Nilson spotted a strange circular marking on top of the frozen lake.
As the two came closer to the bizarre site, their curiosity quickly turned to dread. They’d stumbled across an inexplicably strange, skin-crawling circle, dotted with hundreds of smaller holes.
Towards the center of the icy ring was a smaller circle, giving this monstrosity the illusion of some unsettling, infected eye. Trying to figure it out, the pair looked closer into this marking, when Nilson noticed small, squidgy white blobs that had melted through the ice.
Those things could definitely pass for alien eggs. Fortunately, the real explanation behind this icy terror is believed to be down to a young girl. And no, she wasn’t summoning the devil.
According to her mother, the girl had laid out balls of salt dough in the skin-crawling geometric design for an art assignment. Not long later, the salty squishy sculptures had melted through the ice, leaving behind this frightful frozen feature. As frustrating as this is, at least we won't be getting taken over by any little green men for now.
Fish Frozen In Wall Of Ice
In 2015, photographer Kelly Preheim visited Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge, hoping to capture some pictures of the beautiful scenery. However, what she ended up snapping was less scenic and more dystopian. There she found a four-foot-high frozen wall of fish! But how on earth can dozens of fish get trapped upright in a wall of ice?
At first glance, it may look like the fish were frozen mid-leap out of water or perhaps by a particularly frosty gust of wind. But, nowhere on the planet is cold enough to flash freeze an entire wave in a literal instant. For that, temperatures would need to be close to Zero Kelvin, or absolute 0, which is about -459°F. That’s colder than the empty vacuum of space!
The real reason for this puzzling picture is down to thick, clouded ice forming on the lake’s surface. When this gets thick enough, it blocks out the sun, and plants in the water can’t receive light to photosynthesize and produce oxygen. As a result of the lack of oxygen in the water, fish trapped in the lake pass away and float to the surface.
Still, the question remains: how they ended up trapped upright? It’s possible that the weather took an even colder turn, increasing the amount of ice and as it expanded, was pushed toward the shore, where it eventually buckled and extended vertically.
On top of that, harsh winds could’ve forced the frozen fish upwards even further, until they eventually extended into a four-foot wall. Fortunately, this fearsome feature wasn’t bad news for everyone. The icy animals essentially became a frozen banquet for hungry eagles and gulls.
It was a normal day for brothers Anton and Alex Babich, who went out ice fishing in Northern Indiana back in January 2017. They were hoping to bring home a catch or two, which they did in a sense. And what they did capture was this jaw-dropping footage below. Poking out of the frozen lake on which they were fishing was the body of a bass.
As the brothers walked over to their fishy find, they realized the true extent of what they’d stumbled upon. The bass wasn’t just frozen into the lake, it was also stuck in the mouth of a much larger pike. So, how exactly could the two fish get frozen mid-meal?
The most likely explanation is that the pike tried to eat the bass, but bit off a bit more than it could chew. The bass was too big, and the pike choked, taking its meal with it to a watery grave. As both fish met their end, they floated to the water’s surface, where they eventually froze, leaving it looking like a Damien Hurst artwork.
But it turns out that fish aren’t the only unlucky animals to fall victim to an icy end. Just look at this frozen fox in the image below, who spent a little too long in a Scandinavian lake. Sadly, this fluffy fella drowned here before being frozen over when the conditions became more frigid.
On a similar note, at first glance, this glacial gator in the image below appears to have succumbed to the same fearsome fate as Mr. Fox. But, surprising as it sounds, this frozen alligator is actually alive and well.
While these reptiles are typically found in warm waters, American alligators can be found in places like Northern Carolina, where temperatures can drop as low as −34°F. Fortunately, these guys are prepared for the cold snap. Just before the water freezes, alligators stick their snouts into the air before the ice sets in, allowing them to breathe while mostly submerged.
During this time, the polar predators go through a process called brumation. This is essentially a dormant period for reptiles, just like hibernation is for mammals. In a process that can take a stomach-churning 5 months, gators shut down their metabolism, slow down their heart rate, and don’t eat, waiting for their waters to warm back up!
Ice Man Found in Minneapolis Park
In 2021, visitors to Theodore Wirth Regional Park in Minneapolis in the U.S. were greeted by a puzzling polar feature. Emerging from the trees was a 6-foot-tall block of ice, and entombed within it was what appeared to be a human.
But this wasn’t just any old human. The figure frozen in the giant ice structure was a shaggy-haired caveman, carrying a club-shaped weapon in his right hand. It attracted masses of curious visitors to the park, who were eager to catch a glimpse of a real-life caveman.
This feels like the beginning of a horror movie. You can imagine the plot: a recently discovered caveman thaws out, and starts going full goblin mode with that chunky club of his! Fortunately, though, there was no caveman carnage.
Turns out that this frozen feature is actually the work of artist Zach Schumack, who created the iceman known as Zug Zug out of plastic. Zach wanted to create something that got people away from their computers and TV screens, and out into the open air and snow. The artwork is currently kept at home with its creator Zach.
Melting Glacier in Chile Reveals Ichthyosaur Fossils
With climate change gradually increasing the temperature of the entire planet, Tyndall Glacier in southern Chile is slowly melting away. In fact, from 1945 to 2001, the glacier which is a giant, frozen river of ice, retreated by over 3 miles.
Glaciers melting at this speed isn’t a good sign for the state of the environment, but the thawing ice at Tyndall Glacier did at least reveal an incredible ancient artifact. In 2009, paleontologists came across the weirdly well-preserved fossil of an ancient beast, poking out of the icy bedrock of this once free and flowing river.
It was the remains of an ichthyosaur, a prehistoric marine reptile that inhabited the world’s waters some 250 million years ago. For reference, that makes these guys almost triple the age of the oldest T-Rex! At some 10 feet long, these beasts had a plump body, creepy-looking eyes, and a sizeable snout, similar to a dolphin's!
But paleontologists excavating the site on Tyndall Glacier weren’t just greeted by one freaky fossil; they uncovered 76! So, what had gone down to take all these giant guys down? Experts believe something called a turbidity current was to blame. This is a rapid, downward flow of water, caused by earthquakes or collapsing sea slopes.
The ichthyosaurus may’ve been trapped by the chaotic current and thrown down into an opened abyss, where they were buried in collapsing sediment. Getting caked in this silty residue would’ve created an anoxic environment for the ichthyosaurus carcasses, meaning there’s no oxygen, preventing bacterial decomposition of their bodies.
In fact, these freaky fossils were so well preserved that paleontologists even unearthed Fiona, a female ichthyosaur complete with a fossilized fetus in her womb. Thanks to these findings, scientists will now be able to better understand these marine reptiles and their embryonic development.
Woolly Rhino Found In Siberian Permafrost
In 2021, over in Siberia, Russia, Alexei Savvin was enjoying a nice stroll, soaking up the surrounding snowy scenery. That was until he spotted something peculiar poking out of the frozen permafrost, which is ground that’s remained completely frozen for several years, at least.
At first, it looked like a rock, but when Savvin looked closer, he realized it was actually the carcass of a young rhino; the massive horned animal famous for living exclusively in hot climates in the wilds of Africa and Asia.
But what Savvin found wasn’t any normal rhino, it had fur! It turned out to be a woolly rhino, an extinct cousin of modern rhinos that roamed the planet between 5 million and 11,700 years ago. These all-natural tanks could reach lengths of 13 feet and weigh up to a hefty 2.2 tons!
Although all that size wasn’t always so handy, as researchers believe that the specimen Savvin found likely drowned! However, this isn’t the first woolly rhino discovered within the Siberian permafrost, but researchers claimed Savvin’s is the best-preserved example of an extinct ice age mammal ever discovered!
Much of the rhino’s soft tissue was still visible, along with its hooves, fur, teeth, and a small nasal horn. Being such a well-kept specimen has led researchers to discover more about this prehistoric beast. Wear marks on the horn indicate that the creature may have used its bony protrusion to gather food, by scraping away snow and ice to reach lush vegetation hiding underneath.
Anthrax Outbreak In Russia
Woolly rhinos aren’t the only thing hiding in the frozen depths of Siberia. Back in 2016, something far more lethal emerged from the region’s permafrost. That summer, without any warning, 2,300 reindeer suddenly dropped down dead. At the same time, 90 local residents were hospitalized with a strange devilish disease.
So, what was the cause of this mysterious malady? Siberia was enjoying a particularly warm summer in 2016. The rising temperatures led to the thawing of the region’s permafrost. But as the permafrost melted away, a deadly, dormant disease rose to the surface.
It turns out that in the early 20th century, repeated outbreaks of anthrax were responsible for the demise of more than one million reindeer in Siberia. The corpses were buried, but because permafrost is so tough, it’s practically impossible to dig deep graves. To make matters worse, the cold temperatures provided the perfect preservation conditions for the anthrax to remain alive.
With the abnormally sweltering summer, it didn’t take long for the thawing permafrost to expose the anthrax-infected carcasses. Presumably, grazing reindeer picked up the infection from feeding near the carcasses of their deceased ancestors. And once Rudolph and co were infected, the disease quickly passed on to humans that were herding them.
This bacterial disease can cause everything from fevers, headaches, and dizziness, to black skin ulcers, vomiting, and even death. In fact, without treatment, survival rates for those who’ve inhaled anthrax spores are as low as 10%. Fortunately, due to a large-scale reindeer vaccination rollout, this anthrax outbreak didn’t escalate any further.
Century Old Whisky Recovered from the Ice of Antarctica
Jutting out of the northern coast of Antarctica, you’ll find Cape Royds; an inhospitable place where temperatures drop below -50°F, and high winds cause blinding snowstorms. The only thing bold enough to live there is a colony of penguins. But back in 2010, conservationists found 3 crates of whisky there. Did those penguins know how to party? Not exactly.
The bottles were in fact lying underneath an old, abandoned hut. While the hut was already known about, the whiskey was a new discovery; and one of significance because of who it had likely belonged to. This hut was the base camp of the famous explorer, Ernest Shackleton. More than 100 years before, back in 1907, Shackleton led an expedition in search of the south pole, using that very hut as a base camp for his voyage.
The question is, who put the whisky underneath the hut? The most popular theory is that Shackleton placed the bottles there before setting off for the pole, in anticipation of a victory celebration on the crew’s return. However, the crew never reached their south pole destination, so Shackleton probably wasn’t in the mood to celebrate.
Despite being left for over 100 years in the sub-freezing Antarctic conditions, the whisky wasn’t frozen. It was able to withstand the freeze thanks to its eye-watering 47.3% alcoholic strength. And because alcohol contains ethanol, which has a freakishly low freezing point of -173°F, it stopped these beverages from turning into alcoholic ice pops!
After being displayed at Canterbury Museum in New Zealand, the bottles of whisky were returned to Shackleton’s hut on Cape Royds in 2013, where they can still be found today, well over 100 years after they were first left there.
Kerið Crater Lake
Thanks to its circular shape, red steep slopes, and vivid water, Kerið Lake in Iceland has ironically become a tourist hotspot. Because eager explorers have discovered that, in winter, this place transforms into a polar paradise!
As the season produces temperatures averaging around a frosty 32°F, Kerið freezes over. And anyone lucky enough to catch a glimpse will think they’re standing on the edge of a portal into an icy underworld.
Kerið Lake is located on the site of a once-active, cone-shaped volcano. When it erupted, the volcano depleted its magma reserve, causing the rupture to cave in on itself, resulting in the caldera formation you can see today. Not only did the depressed volcano form the crimson crater that holds the lake, but the volcanic minerals from the steep slopes also seeped into the water.
These minerals essentially dye the water in the lake a vivid aquamarine color. So when winter comes, what you’re left with is a wildly vibrant frozen lake, surrounded by dark red slopes, in a location that could’ve been pulled straight from Game of Thrones.
If you went trekking across a glacier, one of those previously mentioned frozen rivers, you’d probably expect to find ice, ice, and more ice. Yet, in 1898, American explorer, James Kimball, came across something else while hiking along a glacier in Wyoming, U.S. What Kimbell saw poking out from the glacier was a small, shriveled green leg. And it wasn’t an alien.
What the explorer had come across was a frozen grasshopper. That’s not immediately weird, but then things took a strange turn. The more Kimbell dug, the more grasshoppers emerged. In fact, he noted that not a fragment of ice on the one-mile-long glacier could be broken without finding the remains of these bouncy bugs!
In all, there are believed to be tens of millions of grasshoppers entombed in the ice in both this glacier, and others close by. So, how exactly did they end up buried in the ice here? After all, these critters are most commonly associated with leaping through warm grassy plains. But that’s not the case for all grasshoppers.
The rocky mountain locust, an extinct species of grasshopper, would frequently migrate in swarms, flying over America’s Rocky Mountains. Scientists believe that a swarm of billions of locusts migrating over the mountains was suddenly swept down by a brutal winter storm.
The doomed critters then crashed down on the glacier, which became their icy grave. While the rocky mountain locusts may be no more, their frozen remains have at least given eager scientists the chance to discover more about these long-extinct bugs.
Warriors of the White War Emerge From Frozen Tomb
When you think of World War One, what comes to mind? Muddy fields? Trenches? Rats? While that may’ve been the case for most soldiers fighting on the frontlines, there were soldiers fighting somewhere a little less known with conditions that were arguably much harsher.
The White War is the name given to the fighting that happened in the northern Italian Alps between Italian and Austro-Hungarian troops from 1915 to 1918. There, combat took place at altitudes of up to 12,000 feet, where the temperatures dropped as low as –22°F!
The stories of the fighting there were somewhat frozen in time, until recently. Temperature rises saw much of the ice in the region melt away, revealing an assortment of shocking discoveries! In 2021, researchers excavated a previously inaccessible barrack atop the Italian Alps.
The artificial cavern was used as a shelter for Austrian soldiers and was chock full of long-forgotten artifacts. Ammunitions, animal skin jackets, straw mattresses, even ladles made out of tin cans!
Each fascinating find hammered home just how brutal life for soldiers here must’ve been. Can you imagine trying to get cozy while it's -22°F outside, and all you’ve got for warmth is a jacket and a straw mattress? Sadly some more disturbing discoveries have been unearthed here too.
In 2012, the mummified remains of two Austrian soldiers were uncovered, and in recent years, more than 80 corpses have emerged from the melting mountain. Surprisingly, however, most of these casualties didn’t fall victim to enemy gunfire. The majority are instead believed to have been taken out by hypothermia and avalanches.
Around 20 years after the White War ended, another global conflict in the shape of World War Two started. And just as the White War left behind some fascinating frozen relics, so did World War Two.
In 1942, America began Operation Bolero; a campaign of deploying troops and equipment to Britain, in order to boost the Allied invasion of Europe. Part of the mission involved flying hundreds of U.S. Army airplanes across the Atlantic. However, not all of the aircraft made it to their destination.
In July 1942, 6 P-38 fighter planes heading for Britain had to make an emergency landing on a Greenland ice sheet due to adverse weather. Thankfully, all of the crew survived, but the aircraft didn’t. The planes were so badly damaged they were considered unrecoverable and were abandoned on the ice sheet.
Over the decades, the forgotten fighter planes disappeared from the site after being gradually buried in more than 260 feet of snow and ice. That was until 1988, when the Greenland Expedition Society arrived on the ice cap in search of the planes. But as you can expect, finding anything under that much snow and ice ain’t an easy task.
Recovery teams used ground penetrating radar; a lawnmower-looking device that uses radar pulses to image the subsurface. Within days the radar pinpointed the location of one of the planes. To drill down, the team used a Super Gopher; a thermal meltdown generator that helped the team carve a 260 feet deep shaft into the ice.
After drilling down, the crew used a chain hoist to journey down the daunting descent, before steam hosing a cavern around the plane. But the work didn’t stop there. To haul the plane out from the ice, it was painstakingly disassembled piece by piece and carried back up the shaft.
Four months after the recovery began, all of the parts of one of the P-38s had been salvaged. The aircraft, appropriately named, Glacier Girl, returned to the U.S. where it was restored to flying condition. Today, more than 80 years after it landed on that fateful ice sheet, the old girl can be seen soaring through the sky at air shows in the U.S.
I hope you were amazed at these shocking discoveries found in ice! Thanks for reading.