While there’s no doubt about the fact that we still have so many questions about this planet, many of our past questions have been answered by looking beneath the surface. The Great Sphinx of Giza was found buried beneath mountains of sand, underground tunnels were found under giant cities across the globe, and we’ve even been able to excavate the bones of our ancestors and dinosaurs alike. However, people seem to forget that countless discoveries have also been buried in ice…
It often slips peoples’ minds that ice is a wonderful form of preservation, because most of us take our freezers for granted. Yet it seems as though this ice does so much more than keep our ice cream fresh. This ice also preserves remnants of the past and gives explorers the chance to uncover great discoveries. Many of these discoveries have since gone on to change the world as we know it.
The frozen fox
Most people know just how cold ice can be, but the fact that it can perfectly preserve creatures of all shapes and sizes is something that still boggles our mind. While you probably think of movies such as Ice Age and frozen fish and squirrels when you think of the cold stuff, it seems as though ice can also freeze various other animals. You know, like foxes!
A German hunter found this frozen fox a few years ago, and he quickly realized that the large creature was completely surrounded by a thick chunk of ice. He could just about make out the tail, the ears, the body, and the legs of this thing, and he knew that he had found something special. However, this wasn’t the only frozen animal he found around this particular lake.
The frozen lighthouse
When you think of icy terrain, there’s a high chance that you don’t immediately think of the United States. After all, we all know that it gets pretty cold, but does it get cold enough to completely cover large structures in ice? Well, the answer to that question is a resounding “Yes.” The cold temperatures in Michigan often leave things with a coating of thick ice, and that’s exactly what happened to this lighthouse.
What’s so amazing about this lighthouse is the fact that the whole thing has been covered in waves of ice, and even the spiral staircase that normally snakes up the lighthouse has been completely shrouded in the white stuff. We can’t imagine that this would work too well as a guide for any ships looking to avoid the shore.
The frozen fish
Most of the people in this world are pretty familiar with frozen fish because it will take you just a quick trip to the grocery store to find some for yourself. However, this discovery takes the idea of frozen fish to a whole new level. This incredible find actually shows a fish that has been frozen in a lake, but do you see what’s so special about this?
If you look closely, you’ll be able to see that the fish also has another fish in its mouth. This means that the water in the lake froze so quickly that the larger fish didn’t even have the chance to eat all of its dinner before it was completely frozen solid. This chunk of ice was carved out of the lake by an ice fisherman, and he just couldn’t believe what he was looking at.
The “bloody” ice
Very few people get to check out the wonders of Antarctica, but those who have been able to see this place with their very own have noted that it’s absolutely stunning. Covered in ice and snow, much of this continent is completely blanketed with the white stuff. However, it seems as though that’s not the only color making an appearance. Called the Blood Falls glacier, this natural wonder features a river of red, which many have mistaken for blood.
It’s not hard to notice this bright red color amongst the white of the snow and ice, and many have wondered what caused such a thing. Well, it seems as though this isn’t blood at all, but rather water that is rich in iron. This mineral causes a color change in the water and creates the spooky flow through the ice.
The frozen bacteria
Strange things have been found under the ice over the years, but none is perhaps as strange as the frozen bacteria that was found a few years ago. While the average person can’t just stumble across ancient bacteria without prior knowledge or education on the matter, scientists looking for the bacteria managed to find just that in a piece of ice that could be traced back a whopping 8 million years.
Normal bacteria struggle to survive in such harsh conditions, but one particular type of bacteria is able to as long as they produce spores – which this one did. These sports essentially allow the bacteria to hibernate, and it certainly hibernated for a long while. Most people probably wish that they could do the same, and we definitely wouldn’t say no to 8 million years of hibernation.
These frozen kingfishers
Most people are used to seeing birds flying through the sky, so what are these beautiful birds doing surrounded by thick ice? When they were found in Weisendorf in Northern Bavaria, experts suggested that the kingfishers had been in the midst of their feeding time. Like many other birds, kingfishers fly to the surface of the water and then dive under to catch themselves some delicious fish. However, it seems as though these birds just weren’t quick enough.
The water froze over before the birds had the chance to catch their fish, and they were engulfed in the ice. While they’re incredible to look at in this state, we can’t help but feel pretty sorry for these birds. After all, they didn’t even get the chance to eat their delicious food before their end.
The frozen soldiers
It’s often hard for us to think about our brothers, fathers, and sons heading off to war, but that’s what many of them did during both World War One and World War Two. During the latter of those wars, many men found themselves heading up into the snowy mountains of the Alps to fight their foe – and anyone who has been skiing will know that it’s not the warmest place in the world.
With little insulation and the prospect of staying in icy trenches for hours or even days on end, it should probably come as no surprise to learn that many soldiers sadly perished in perilous conditions. While many of their bodies were later discovered, many have since been discovered over the past few decades after being encased in ice.
The frozen woolly mammoth brains
It’s not every day you come across frozen woolly mammoth brains, right? In fact, it’s not every day you come across anything associated with a woolly mammoth. That’s because this animal has been extinct for more years than we can count, and the only memories we have of these guys is their skeletons that have been found in the ground or trapped in ice themselves. What’s so amazing about this particular discovery, however, is the fact that this mammoth skeleton was actually found with its brain intact.
This was the first time that a woolly mammoth brain had ever been discovered, and experts had the thick and intense ice of the Laptev Sea coast to thank for that. Sadly, they soon realized that the woolly mammoth and its brains were just six to nine years old when they passed away.
The frozen warning
Many people dream of finding a message in a bottle, and it may be that you have popped a message in a bottle yourself. Well, it seems as though Paul T. Walker did the same thing back in 1959. He wrote a message, placed it in a bottle, and then lodged it into a glacier – but this wasn’t just a welcome hello. Paul’s message was actually a warning because he wanted people to open their eyes to the dangers and the impending doom of global warming.
Within this message, he asked whoever found it to measure the size of the glacier and to compare it to the measurements that he took back in the day. When researchers uncovered the note in 2013, they followed his request and found that it had shrunk 200 feet since Paul measured it.
The frozen sabretooth tiger
If you’ve watched Ice Age recently, you’ll probably be familiar with the sabretooth tiger. While there’s no doubt about the fact that we have a very love-hate relationship with this tiger, it’s also pretty cool. Often called cave lions, it’s believed that this particular animal finally went extinct around 10,000 years ago. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still remnants of its life lying around.
Over the years, many skeletons and bones of this animal have been found across the world buried in ice, and also in bizarre locations that you just wouldn’t link with sabretooth tigers – like the UK! Many of these creatures didn’t survive the end of the ice age, but the ice didn’t vanish completely. In fact, much of it kept the skeletons and the remnants of these animals pretty safe for us to investigate.
The frozen plane
When you head up into the skies and go on vacation, there’s a high chance that, during the course of your travels, you will fly over ice and snow of some sort. While this normally passes you by without you even realizing it, the people on board this particular plane found themselves in a sticky situation. The military plane was on its way to Anchorage in Alaska in 1952 when it crashed into a glacier and resulted in 52 fatalities.
Because of the unsafe conditions around the glacier itself, the authorities just couldn’t risk anyone else making their way to the glacier to take part in a rescue mission. In fact, it wasn’t until 2002 that they made their first attempts at a rescue, as the glacier had melted somewhat. What they found was much of the aircraft still covered in ice.
The frozen frog
Frogs are pretty cute animals, but it seems as though they get even cuter when you add some ice into the mix. While we can’t imagine that this was too comfortable for this particular frog, there’s no doubt about the fact that its little icicles make it seem as though it has just hopped out of a fairytale. Of course, the story of this particular frog is a little more troublesome than that.
Although the frog had good intentions of making its way across the water in search of food, it didn’t quite realize just how cold it was. Before too long, it was covered in ice and struggling to deal with the horrific temperatures. This occurred in Norway, which probably won’t surprise you, considering it’s extremely cold in that part of the world.
The frozen dinosaur
Without the ability to go back in time and walk amongst the dinosaurs ourselves, there’s no doubt about the fact that we have to rely on prehistoric bones and fossils to help us piece together these particular creatures. Thankfully, it seems as though we have uncovered enough about popular dinosaurs like tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor, but what about the unsung heroes?
Hidden beneath a huge amount of ice were the bones of a nodosaur, which can be traced back to around a whopping 110 million years ago. Not much was known about this dinosaur until this skeleton was uncovered, but we now know that it was covered in spikes that served as its armor and to keep any predators away. We bet the person who found these bones felt pretty proud of themselves.
The frozen islands
A huge portion of the world is still covered in ice, but it seems as though the secrets buried beneath this ice are ready to come through. This is largely because core temperatures are rising and ice is melting, and these secrets have no choice but to make their appearance. This is the case for some islands in Greenland.
While this country has largely been covered in ice, the rising temperatures have caused much of this ice to melt and peel off the disguise of what lies beneath. In this case, there are brand new islands to contend with! Not only has this completely changed the geography of the world, but it’s also meant that new maps of the world have had to be redrawn as these new islands have made their appearance.
The frozen bones
It’s always concerning when people find bones in strange places, and it doesn’t take long for an investigation to come underway to work out whether a crime has been committed or whether they are old bones. For scientists in the Himalayas, they were slightly relieved to see that the bones found at the bottom of a once-frozen-but-now-melted lake weren’t a modern crime scene, but rather than an ancient ode to the past!
The bones were initially discovered in 1942, but when the experts ran tests on the human remains, they soon realized that they could be traced back to 850 BCE. Upon further inspection, they also noticed something strange about the bones, as many of them featured pieces of hail stuck inside them. Many locals suggested the ancient people had fought with a deity, and that this caused their passing.
The frozen puppy
When you think of puppies, you probably think of adorable puppies that you see waddling along the street, or even the puppy that you might have in your house – you lucky thing! However, it might surprise you to learn that puppies have been around for hundreds of thousands of years, and there are even mummified remains to prove it. This bizarre specimen was actually found deep in the Siberian tundra, covered in ice.
The experts had no idea what they had stumbled upon when they saw the fur sticking out of the ice, but they soon realized that they were actually looking at a 12,460-year-old puppy. This was a major breakthrough in terms of ice age canine phylogeny, and it was also perfectly preserved. You can even see that its fur still perfectly intact!
The frozen forests
When glaciers move and grow, they essentially uproot everything in their path. They become laden with debris and rocks that creates a layer of sediment they have since called moraine. What’s so amazing about this moraine, however, is the fact that it actually does the opposite of itself. While the moraine is produced by debris that’s caught up in a glacier’s wake, the moraine itself protects other things on the ground from meeting the same fate.
Because of this, it can often provide a protective layer for forests and areas of foliage. As the glacier and the moraine grow, it grows over the trees – but it doesn’t break them down. Instead, they are perfectly preserved. On various occasions, shrinking glaciers have left behind a mummified forest that had been protected for years.
The woolly rhino
Rhinos aren’t woolly, are they? No, you haven’t just missed out on a vital piece of rhino biology because the rhinos that we have in our world right now certainly aren’t fluffy in any shape or form. Yet, a discovery found within the ice has shown us that these woolly rhino did exist around 10,000+ years ago, and could mostly be found around the Sakha region of Russia.
Known for being one of the coldest places on Earth, you probably don’t need to wonder why these creatures were covered in fur. One particular fossil of this woolly rhino was found a few years ago, and it was so perfectly preserved that it still had much of its fur intact. After running some tests, experts came to the conclusion that the woolly rhino was just 18 months old when it passed away.
The frozen spear
Because we weren’t around when our ancestors were roaming the Earth, we have had to learn a huge amount about their livelihood from the things that they left behind. Thankfully, many of these objects have been found trapped in ice, which means that they have remained perfectly preserved. Until recently, experts assumed that humans did not live around the area of Yellowstone, because they had previously not found any signs of human life.
However, as the ice around this area has begun to melt, more and more signs of human life have melted away. This was the case for a 10,300-year-old spear that was found poking out of the ground. Not only did this confirm that our ancestors did live in this cold climate, but that they would also live off the large animals in the area.
The frozen volcanoes
If you have ever been to Iceland, you’ll know that it’s pretty cold. In fact, the clue is in the name, really. While this country has been perpetually cold for as long as we can remember, it seems as though it hasn’t always been as freezing as it seems. Much of the country was formed thanks to volcanic activity underneath the surface, but as the temperatures dropped around 4,500 years ago, these volcanoes began to freeze.
Today, there are numerous frozen volcanoes in Iceland, and while they are not completely obvious, it’s amazing to go and see them in the flesh. However, you should proceed with caution. Because the temperature of the world seems to be increasing, so does the chance of these volcanoes melting and erupting once more.
The frozen – but alive – alligators
When you think of animals being frozen in ice, you just automatically presume that they don’t survive the ordeal, right? Well, it seems as though some animals can. In the past, people have stumbled across frozen alligators poking out of the ice. What’s so amazing about these alligators is that they are still alive, as they have been blessed with the ultimate survival technique.
Instead of succumbing to the cold temperatures, alligators can actually survive all winter with just their noses poking out of the water, because they can preserve themselves. They know just how to preserve their internal organs, and they enter what you might call a frozen hibernation. This allows them to stay put until the ice begins to melt, and they can be unfrozen once again. How cool is that?
The frozen moss
While there’s no doubt about the fact that moss probably isn’t as cool as some of the other frozen things, it’s certainly rather interesting. That’s because most people assume that moss grows in damp and wet areas – so why is it found underneath the ice that’s rock solid? Well, scientists who have been researching an area of glaciers in the Arctic have found that these glaciers have no qualms about growing over the top of this ice.
Instead of instantly causing its destruction, the harsh and cold temperatures actually preserve the moss. They once found moss that they dated back a whopping 500 years, and they took it to their lab to research even more. When they decided to plant it, they were amazed to see that they could grow it even though it had been dormant for five centuries.
The frozen foal
We’ve already seen that scientists have found frozen horses in the past, but the discovery of a frozen foal in April 2019 has changed the course of history as we know it. This perfectly preserved foal was found in the Batagaika Crater in Siberia, and it was found entombed in ice. As researchers looked into this foal further, they discovered that it was 42,000 years old and that it was just 2 months old when it had sadly passed away.
However, this was not the most intriguing piece of data associated with the foal. What was so amazing about this discovery was the fact that this foal still had blood in its veins. This meant that researchers had found their oldest liquid blood sample on record, something that has changed the course of history.
The frozen Viking swords
While there’s no doubt about the fact that we do know a fair bit about the way that the Viking people lived their lives, we don’t know everything. However, much of what we do know has been found buried in ice – just like these swords. These swords would have helped the Viking people go about their daily business, whether that be preparing their food, building ships to cross the choppy waters, or hunting or fighting their enemies.
Although the ice has made them rusty, the ones found buried beneath the ice have also been perfectly preserved. This has allowed experts and hobbyists alike the chance to check out how they were made and how the Vikings would have used them in real life. After all, everyone loves to try out a sword every now and then!
The frozen basket
When you head to the grocery store, you might pick up a basket to help you on your mission. Of course, it seems as though this isn’t a new invention. Our ancestors were using the same trick when they went about their daily business, and this was seen when researchers uncovered a basket in Alaska that had been frozen in ice. This ancient basket was made from birch wood and featured woven handles and features that made it practical and beautiful at the same time.
Researchers tracked the whole thing back a whopping 650 years, and they were amazed to see that our ancient ancestors had been able to create something so intricate and detailed – and from birch trees, no less. There’s no doubt about the fact that it puts some of our modern baskets to shame.
The frozen battlefields
We’ve already seen that remnants of war-stricken soldiers can be found atop icy mountains, but it seems as though frozen battlefields can also be found up there. In fact, explorers making their way up the Alps have often come across abandoned trenches and hideouts from World War One, and these have since been investigated by experts and historians.
While many of these battlefield items were made for temporary use and made from fairly flimsy wood and even dug into the ice itself, they have been able to stand the test of time purely thanks to the preserving nature of ice and extremely cold temperatures. While these trenches and hideouts are no longer in use, they are remnants of the past that will forever be stuck in time. They’re also amazing to see in the flesh.
The frozen lion cubs
Many animals have been found trapped in ice in Russia and the Siberian region because these areas have to deal with bitterly cold temperatures and year-round ice that encases everything it touches. Because of this, animals who found themselves stuck thousands of years ago have been stuck there ever since. This was the case for two lion cubs found in Yakutia until they were eventually discovered in 2015.
The cubs were named Dina and Uyan, and experts were able to trace them back a whopping 55,000 years. Their fur and their whole bodies were still intact when they were discovered, but their lives weren’t easy when they were alive. It’s been suggested that they were abandoned at birth, or their mother passed away before they could feed from her.
The frozen Caribou droppings
While most people don’t get too excited over everyday excrement, it seems as though there are some people in this world who do. In fact, experts were over the moon when they discovered Caribou droppings that had been found completely frozen in ice found across various northern regions. One of the main reasons for this is because animal droppings can give experts a great indicator in terms of their food habits, their overall health, and their size.
By researching these Caribou droppings, they were able to trace the animals back hundreds and thousands of years, and piece together a timeline of this wonderful animal. While we appreciate this kind of knowledge, we think that we’ll probably leave this job to the experts rather than seeking out droppings ourselves. It’s just not our thing.
The frozen tunic
Many of the artifacts found buried in ice have actually allowed us to learn more about the people who lived before us and how they lived their lives. This was the case for the researchers at the University of Oslo and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. As they made their way around glaciers to check out the thickness and the makeup of this thick ice, they came across this frozen tunic. Remarkably, they were able to trace this back to a whopping 230 BCE.
It had come to the attention of the researchers because it was once completely frozen in the glacier, but the melting ice caused it to come loose. It had been perfectly preserved and gave historians the chance to look at this tunic, how it was made, and understand where our ancestors would wear it.
The frozen waterfall
We’ve already seen some of the coldest places on Earth within this list, and it’s fair to say that there are so many cold regions across the globe. While some of these places are cold and will produce a slight frost, there are other places that will freeze entirely – and encase some of the wonders of the world in the process. Many mysteries have been found frozen in ice, but sometimes the mystery involves the frozen ice itself.
In countries such as Russia, Iceland, and even Croatia, the temperature can drop so suddenly that waterfalls are stopped in their tracks. This creates a frozen waterfall that is a true wonder to behold. Many people then strap on their ice shoes and climb these frozen waterfalls like a climbing wall! Better them than us, to be honest.