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Glaciers FAQs - 29 Found

How do we explain finding the Copper-Age “Iceman” “in a glacier” in 1991 in the Italian Alps?

Ötzi” is the name of a well-preserved natural mummy of a Chalcolithic (Copper Age) man found in 1991 at the edge of the Schnalstal Glacier in the Ötztal Alps on a border ridge between Austria and Italy. The remains date from approximately 3300 BC. When found, the upper torso was melting out of glacier ice. The ice mass that contained the body was located in a bedrock depression on a ridge. The body may have been buried there and covered with rocks. Sometime after burial, the site may have been over-ridden by permanent snow or the glacier. Because it was near the edge of the glacier in a protective bedrock depression, the remains had had not been transported far from its burial site. Had Ötzi truly been in moving glacier ice, it is very unlikely that any remains would have been preserved or found.

Learn more: Ice, Snow, and Glaciers: The Water Cycle

Tags: Global Change, Glaciers, Climate, Snow, Ice, Polar