Frozen In Time: Mysteries Revealed When Glaciers Melt

Throughout history, glaciers have been built up and then melted multiple times over. During this process, they entomb many different things. Due to global warming, glaciers are melting at a rapid pace and exposing more and more things.


Glaciers are the “sci-fi of cryo-preservation in nature,” said Dr. Twila Moon, a research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. She continued that ice is a phenomenal preservation tool, however, it can also sometimes warp objects. However, the melting usually leads to positive scientific research and mysteries solved.

A most recent finding occurred in the Swiss Alps. Seventy-five years ago a couple went out to milk their cows and never returned. Marcelin Dumoulin and his wife, Francine disappeared on August 15, 1942. Their daughter now 79-years-old said her parents left on foot and she never saw them again. CBS News reports “The bodies were found on the Tsanfleuron Glacier at 2,615 meters — about 8,580 feet — above sea level.”


Another mystery solved was the disappearance of famed climber George Mallory. Mallory disappeared on Mount Everest in 1924. His body was discovered 75 years later after some of the ice had melted. Mallory is believed to be the first person to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest.

One of the most famous scientific discoveries is Ötzi the iceman. Hikers came across the frozen corpse in the Ötztal Alps along the Italy-Austria border in September 1991. Researchers discovered the body had been mummified at around 3300 B.C. Due to the ice and the high humidity that was preserved, Ötzi’s skin and organs remained in good condition, even after thousands of years. However, not all discoveries are seen as good ones.


In August 2016 a boy died, and 8 others were infected, from Anthrax after a heatwave melted ice in the Siberian tundra and exposed an infected reindeer carcass. BBC reports “More than 2,300 reindeer have died in the outbreak, in the Yamalo-Nenets region of Siberia,” where the “last outbreak in the region was in 1941.”

These are only some of things that have been discovered by melting glaciers. Due to global warming, scientists expect that these findings are only the beginning.