There are plenty of clues hidden in every corner of the world that teach us about a time long before we were even around. Dinosaur bones are buried underground, fossils hide in stone, and the ruins of ancient cities, it seems, are excavated just about every year.
And in some of the world’s coldest places, scientists are uncovering a number of mind-boggling discoveries in ice. Preserved in freezing temperatures, these finds were in nearly the same condition as when they first went under — and scientists are only just now coming to understand their incredible histories.
1. Iron water: Don’t worry, it’s not what you think! While it may look like something horrific happened in the aptly named area of “Blood Falls,” this is actually just frozen iron-rich water. But where it comes from? Nobody knows…
2. Mammoth Brains: Quite a number of mammoth remains have been found over the years, but only one with its brain still intact. Deep inside the permafrost off the Siberian coast was this young yet 39,000-year-old woolly mammoth. What a discovery!
3. Forests: Even though moving glaciers tend to crush anything in their paths, the dirt and debris they drag along with them can act as a protective barrier for forests underneath. So, when a glacier continues on, it can reveal a forest in perfect condition.
4. Dinosaurs: The 110 million-year-old Nodosaur was one of the last surviving dinos, as its tough skin and spiked back protected it from predators. It lived in the Cretaceous period, the last stretch of the Mesozoic era, and remained perfectly preserved in ice.
5. Volcano: It may sound like an oxymoron, but even volcanoes can freeze over (hell hasn’t yet, though). Inactive volcanoes remain at high altitudes, and the rapid change from hot to cool can create some pretty interesting sights.
6. Message In A Bottle: In 1959, a geologist named Paul T. Walker hid this bottle in a glacier with instructions to measure the distance it traveled over time. When it was uncovered, it’d moved so much that scientists realized the severity of climate change.
7. Airplanes: In 1952, this military plane was headed for Alaska but crashed into a nearby glacier, killing all 52 people on board. Sadly, their remains couldn’t be salvaged until 50 years later when the ice had melted.
8. Viking Skis: Historians believe skiing was invented in Scandinavia, and finding 1,300-year-old skis beneath the ice supports that theory. This is one of only two pairs of ancient skis found with bindings still attached, so it’s a pretty big deal.
9. Live Gator: Don’t worry, this alligator is actually still alive! Certain animal species can survive in ice for a while due to their slow heart rates. Alligators have survived blizzards, and those that do usually stick their snouts above the freezing water.
10. Eerie Photographs: When Earnest Shackleton, a late 19th-century and early 20th-century explorer, crashed his ship during his final expedition, he lost a lock box. When it was found in 2013, it revealed weird photos of the crew, the mission, and Shackleton.