Magnificent Ice Sculptures and the Secrets They Keep

By: Mia Williams | Last updated: Jul 08, 2021

Many areas are currently experiencing frigid cold weather, keeping many inside unless they need to travel to work or other necessary trips. But the cold, freezing weather can also display some natural wonders that are unique and beautiful. Some of the images you see may only last for an hour, a few minutes, or even split seconds. It will never be repeated or look exactly the same.

If you don’t live in a cold location, you may never get to experience the splendor that nature dispels on animals, insects, plants, trees, and ordinary every-day items. Some things are highlighted by delicate ice formations and others are completely covered in ice making them nearly impossible to identify.

Look at each of the following slides and see if you immediately know what you’re looking at!

Can These Beautiful Trapped Bubbles Be Dangerous?

Imagine seeing a body of water so full of trapped bubbles, it looks like an effervescent drink poured into a glass. That is what you will find at Lake Abraham in Alberta, Canada. These bubbles are highly-flammable methane that has frozen below the water surface.

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Kristina Makeeva

Local history states that if one of the bubbles pops, a small explosion can occur. This is an awesome sight, but what if more than one pops and the ice strength is jeopardized? Would this mean more bubbles popping and more explosions? There is only one way to find out…

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Ice Storms Overpower Mar Sem Fim

What a ghostly sight! Imagine looking out over Maxwell Bay in Antarctica and seeing a ship stranded below the surface of the ice. The Brazilian yacht Mar Sem Fim (which means “Endless Sea”) sunk on April 7th, 2012. The yacht belonged to a Brazilian journalist, who was on his way to film a documentary.

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On their way, the yacht capsized with the journalist and four-man crew. According to those on the vessel, it felt like they were on a bucking bronco. The crew was saved, but it took two days due to weather conditions. All that is left is the creepy image below the sea.

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Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

Hopefully, drivers in Russia are familiar with the shapes of their traffic signs as this sign is nearly unrecognizable. The sign is covered in blowing rain, that froze it into a beautiful sculpture.

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The surrounding area looks completely desolate, at least during this snowstorm, so it does not seem like there will be too many people needing to obey this signage. It is probably a good thing!

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Froggy Has a Bad Day

This little guy was probably out scouting food or the next lily pad, but his timing was terrible. As he set out on his journey, he was caught in a snow and ice storm. As you can see, his trip was cut short, and he was forever to be remembered as the “Frozen Froggy on the Fence.”

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He did, however, provide a powerful sight, with his frosty eyelashes and beard. He did not die in vain.

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Blue Translucent Frozen Waterfall

This beautiful blue wall is a waterfall that froze layer-over-layer, creating a magnificent blue wall of ice. The light in the background caused it to have a blue glow. As you can see, the water below is still moving, so the soft mist of the waterfall was light enough to freeze, leaving the water below unfazed.

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This is a rare event, as the water often freezes before it reaches the area where it descends, but this one kept flowing until the cold got the best of it.

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Work Truck Frozen in Place

I sure hope this did not happen on a Monday. What a terrible way to start the workweek. Looking at this picture makes you feel cold. The freezing landscape around it is desolate, and the vehicle is frozen in place, waiting for a thaw.

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Big snow and ice storms can not only disable huge vehicles like this truck but can be detrimental to exposed skin and breathing. Mother nature can be a powerful beast.

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Ice Glazed Blooms

What a dichotomy, we think of spring and blooming trees and shrubs, but it seems like these beautiful blooms were not quite ready for an unexpected freeze.

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It is apparent that they have been experiencing warm weather to create these nearly flowering buds, but a surprise rainstorm appears to have frozen, leaving their buds captured in time. Hopefully, next spring, they can avoid the ice and create a beautiful flowering display.

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Frozen Floral Mural

Timing has to be about perfect to create a beautiful mural like the one in the picture. It appears that the flowers were blooming and hit by an unexpected frost, which made them fall from their branches.

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With the ground being slightly frozen and perhaps partially damp, these flowers froze upon landing, creating a one-of-a-kind mural. Luckily, unique sights like these have been captured by talented photographers, so we all can enjoy them.

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Monoliths Reaching Towards the Sky

Upon first look, it is hard to determine what these monoliths are. Could they be sculptures or trees? No, they are actually geysers that have been frozen in time.

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Geysers, which are most often found in areas that have volcanic activity are a beautiful sight with their water streams plunging upwards toward the heavens. But these two are in sub-zero temperatures that froze them in place, creating beautiful, but temporary ice sculptures.

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A Dragonfly Takes His Last Flight

The delicate dragonfly has a lot of natural predators in the wild. They must learn to dodge arthropods, reptiles, frogs, and some types of fish. Luckily they have a very light body and very agile, so many can avoid the predators found in the wild. It is difficult, however, for them to live through frigid cold weather.

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This poor guy was probably out looking for dinner to bring home to his mate or babies when the cold spell hit and froze him in his tracks.

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The Beauty in Everyday Objects, Even a Trash Can!

Interestingly, the right type of weather can change everyday items into beautiful objects. Even a dirty old trash can, can become a visual delight when covered is a glaze of ice and ice sickles.

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This is a common site in some cold-weather locales, but for those that live in warm weather climates, this is something they have probably never seen before. That goes to show that the cold weather, snow, and ice can turn even the most mundane object into a thing of beauty.

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The Miracle of a Spider Web

Spider webs are one of the most miraculous things ever found in nature. They are intricate, beautiful, and created by spiders to catch and consume their prey. This web won’t be carrying out its natural function because it is encased in ice.

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The ice shows the intricately interwoven patterns of the web, usually seen by the human eye. It is a masterpiece of construction that is created by the creepy crawlies we love to hate.

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Waters Effect of a Grand Lighthouse

How many of us enjoy the beauty of a lighthouse? They light the way for water-borne travelers and are the topic of many breathtaking photos. This lighthouse is no different. It is basked in mist and water coming off the water below.

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The Weather Channel

The ice creates beautiful ice formations that will only last until the sun hits it. This lighthouse is in Wisconsin, but they are a common sight along the coasts and areas like this by the great lakes.

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This Cherry Bloomed to Soon

Cherry trees are beautiful. They have colorful, fragrant flowers that turn into delectable cherries. This cherry tree either has its seasoned confused or an unexpected cold snapped turned these ready-to-eat cherries into the frozen variety. Most cherry trees start flowering in spring and bear fruit after the blooms mature.

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In the case of this tree, it looks like an out-of-season rain and ice storm has frozen the crop on the spot. While it is questionable whether the frozen fruit will be good enough to eat, the resulting picture is priceless.

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Be Careful Where You Put Your Toys

All right, this is just plain wrong and may lead to many sleepless nights from children that have seen their favorite Sesame Street Character frozen.

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Not only will that garish smile cause nightmares, but it is also a fact that this once lovable character looks like it can commit heinous acts. Keep your child’s precious toys inside for them to enjoy again and again instead of creating a monster from a favorite toy.

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At Least They Have Toilet Paper to Freeze

During the initial phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was difficult finding paper products like toilet paper at retailers. Yet, someone had enough to leave it outside and let it freeze.

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This is just a travesty! While the rest of us were counting each little square to prolong the life of each roll, someone left theirs outside to become unusable. Let’s hope they run out and remember this wasteful moment.

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50 Years After the Crash Rescue Workers Show Up

In 1953, a military plane crashed on its way to Anchorage, Alaska. It crashed near a glacier killing all 41 passengers and 11 crew members. The object landed on the ice, which begs one to ask, “how think is that ice to hold a plane, cargo, and crew?

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The plane crashed in an area that was considered unsafe, so rescue workers were unable to get to the plane and retrieve information for 50 years. This photo should make us all remember those that have lost their lives for our country.

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The Disappearing Staircase

Many haven’t determined if this is a staircase or a short toboggan slide. This staircase is leading downward into…. well, something, for sure. It would be a treacherous trip if you decided to climb the stairs, either up or down.

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This stairwell is covered with snow. It has turned an unsightly visual into a picturesque snow scene. It would need plenty of shoveling and salt to make it usable again. Unless you prefer to wait until spring.

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The Sad Fate of a Red Fox

This is a sad photo. This poor fox decided to take a hike but fell into a stream and drowned. This is bad news for the fox, but an awful sight for the person that came upon it. The cold weather can be deadly to many forest animals.

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To find water supplies, they often leave their dens and explore for water sources. Often, they end up falling in the water or freezing. Neither fate is good. They may want to hibernate until spring.

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39,000-year-Old Wooly Mammoth Remains Preserved in Ice

Wooly mammoths have been extinct for nearly 40,000 years, yet one was discovered, preserved in ice. It was preserved so well that scientists have determined it was less than 10-years old at the time of its death. It is also the only wooly mammoth found with its brain intact.

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This is one instance when a freezing climate was crucial to keep the animal preserved for scientific research.

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And Here we Have a Block of Frozen Fox

This poor guy did not stand a chance. Foxes are small forest animals, and even though their coats grow thick in the cold, it is not enough to keep them warm in below zero temperatures. This fox was found in a German Lake, frozen solid and perfectly intact.

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Today, his frozen form brings joy(?), interest, and questions from the many that see it proudly displayed in a German hotel. This guy should have stayed home away from the lake on this fateful day.

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Here’s a Frozen Alligator, and He’s Not Dead

Alligators are creepy when they are lurking around the swamplands or frozen like this creepy guy. Alligators and crocodiles look like prehistoric creatures that should have gone the way of Pterodactyls and T. Rex.

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Some alligators can endure cold temperatures and live in states of freezing. They may look dead, but don’t get too close, they may snap you with their big teeth when you least expect it.

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No Dinner for You!

This poor fish went out for a snack and froze before he had a chance to enjoy it. It is truly a breathtaking photo of a fish, literally being frozen in action.

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Fish are used to freezing conditions, but this greedy guy appears to have jumped out of the water to catch his prey only to be frozen in the process. It is rare to capture a photo like this.

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Nodosaur the Dinosaur

This guy is packing on the years!  This dino is thought to be around 110 million years old.  It was unearthed from the frozen tundra. The bones themselves are pretty creepy, so we can imagine what it looked like with its skin, teeth, etc.

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Wikipedia

This dinosaur was caught up in a freezing snowstorm and froze to death. Over the years, more ice and snow kept it in its snowy tomb until it was unearthed during the excavation.

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Siberian Mammoth Found Nearly Intact

The Wooly Mammoth liked cold climates like the Arctic, Siberia, and Alaska. While he thrived in the cold weather, probably due to his wooly coat, they often succumbed to extreme temperatures. This one was around 39,000 years old and found in Siberia.

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It was so well-preserved under the ice that it still contained some muscle and tissue. It is one of the best-preserved animals in history.

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This Bird Didn’t Get His Fish

This poor kingfisher was probably diving into the blue water to find a fish for dinner. Instead, it ended up headfirst into a block of ice, or it made it into the water, only to be frozen once it hit the air. This is a common occurrence.

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The Scottish Sun

Fishermen often see birds dead on frozen waterways. The picture was taken in Bavaria and is now a featured museum exhibit to show the dangers of freezing weather.

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How Much is That Puppy In the Tundra

Who would have that that dogs were around 12,460 years ago? Well, that is thought to be the age of this puppy. It was found in the Siberian tundra. This find was a phenomenal find because the animal was so well-preserved;

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it shows how long dogs have been around. This puppy was found while scientists were searching for Wooly Mammoths. You can see the dog has fur and even intact teeth.

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The Vikings Last Boat Trip

Norwegian folklore often talks about the Vikings and their courageous adventures. Juvfonna, Norway, has proven to be a treasure-trove of unearthed Viking gear. Items found at this site are nearly 3,500-years-old. A Viking boat (shown), arrow, bows, and leather goods were found at the site.

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Scientists also found reindeer traps. They were fashioned from sticks and cloth. These would aid them in capturing their food sources while on their adventures.

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Iron-Rich Water Causes the Appearance of a Bloody Glacier

Nature certainly can make her statement when she wants. A quick look at this snowy photo looks like it has been the scene of a crime. Actually, it is caused by iron-rich water. This glacier is located in Antarctica, where nearly everything freezes.

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Scientists have been perplexed by this sight and surmise that the mixture of iron, particles of rock, glacier, and the ocean contribute to this macabre sight.

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Forests Thrive in Glacier Settings

Usually, glaciers tend to gobble up everything in their way, trees, forests, etc. As they freeze and gather bulk during the cold months, they begin to uproot trees and destroy the landscape around the freezing mass.

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However, ancients forests in some areas continue to thrive despite the frigid temperatures and glacier threat. The layer of a natural material called sediment moraine protects the area, so forests can continue to grow.

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Weapons With Ancient Beginnings Discovered

It is surprising to see how many ancient copper arrowheads look like more modern weapons. These copper arrowheads were found with other items that help scientists to determine their ancient beginnings.

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In the case of the copper arrowhead, it was deep inside thick ice patches. This shows that the arrow was used way back to hunt prey and maintain their safety from other animals or humans.

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Ice-Preserved Bacteria

Sometimes we do not want to find preserved! Especially if it is harmful to humans. In this case, the bacteria was preserved by the ice and intense cold found in the Arctic. Some areas are so frigid that they are devoid of oxygen.

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It appears to be the recipe for preserving bacteria, keeping it as cold as possible, and limiting oxygen. This would never happen in warmer climates.

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Fighting a War in the Alps

World War 1 had a devastating effect on the world. Many people were killed and battlefields we found across the globe. Some battles occurred in the Alps, but many of those fighting were ill-prepared for the frigid weather.

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Following the war, many brave soldiers were found dead, not because of injury, but died because of the cold. Again, a testament to those that have lost their lives to protect our freedom.

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Living the High life 300 Years Ago

There are remnants of other people in the Alps, along with the bodies of soldiers. One of the bodies recently found was thought to be around 300-years old. The only reason the body was in such good condition is that it was found deep in the ice.

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When found, the body, named “Long Ago Man,” had a walking stick, fur coat, and 95 animal felts.

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Yellowstone Spears Dating Back 10,300 Years

Many frozen spears and other weapons have been found in the U.S., including in the Yellowstone area. Interestingly, no humans were thought to inhabit Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming 10,300 years ago.

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Wikipedia

The items recovered like spears and other ancient artifacts are believed to be weapons. They were used to hunting and kill bison, elk, wolves, and other animals that are indigenous to the area.

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The Ice Man Cometh

One of the most important discoveries made was again the in the Alps. The Otzi Ice Man was found between the borders of Italy and Austria. He is believed to be from the Austrian area and around 5,300 years old when found.

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He had an arrow in his shoulder when the body was found. He had gallstones, gum disease, worn joints, and other health issues. No wonder he never made it down the mountain.

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Wooly Mammoth, Meet the Wooly Rhino

Yes, there were wooly rhinos. Not surprisingly, they were found in freezing climates, like those in northern Russia, where this one was found. Scientists believe that this wooly rhino was only about 18-months-old when it died, around 10,000 years ago.

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Finding this rhino has helped scientists find out more about how they lived, where they lived, and what may have caused them to become extinct all those years ago.

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Cave Lions Roam the Arctic

Cave lions, also known by their ancient name, sabretooth tigers, roamed the Siberian landscape for many centuries. Russian scientists and explorers recently found a pristine specimen frozen in Yakutia, Siberia. The animal weight 881 pounds, and because of the frozen climate, was extremely well-preserved.

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Also found in the area were mastodons and other ancient animals that were bountiful during this time in history. It has helped scientists in their quest to learn more about these ancient creatures.

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A Majestic Frozen Lighthouse on a Michigan Shore

The water and mist lapping up from Lake Michigan have decorated this lighthouse in a gorgeous bath of white ice. The top looks almost like a beautifully frosted cake, but note the ice is so thick, it is hard to determine what the structure is.

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Another interesting fact, if you look to the top of the photo, there is another lighthouse on the other bank of the waterway. It has no ice on it at all. Was this due to how the wind was blowing?

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Custom Made Weapons

Here is an example of an ancient weapon that was found deep in the ice and preserved. It is a long dart-like object called the atlatl dart. It looks very similar to bows and arrows and maybe the ancient version of those weapons that were modernized.

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It is thought to be an item that was used for hunting. It was four to six feet in length, based on what was most comfortable for the hunter. This is considered to be one type of ancient weapon, still used today.

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What Goes In, Must Come Out

You know they say, what you eat will come out eventually.  Darts, arrows and other interesting, unexpeted items were often found in the excrement of a caribou. Perhaps the caribou ate the dart and some point and eventually relieved itself of it.

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Other reasons could be that the dart hit the animal in the stomach or intestines, which then was processed by the body.

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Spores Living Through the Ice Age

It is surprising to find how many spore-causing bacteria have survived throughout the ages. Most have been found deep in ice caves and other untouched areas of freezing. These recently discovered bacteria and spores, thought to be about a quarter-million years old.

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This particular bacteria was able to form spores, which let them hibernate until found and brought to a more temperate location. Who knows what other ancient discoveries are out there.

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Dangerous Bacteria Discovered

Not all bacteria are good. Many bacteria were the result of dead animals, who may have been prone to diseases and other dangerous maladies that could be transmitted to others. Some bacteria can exist on their own, without an animal host.

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Unfortunately, ice is a preservative, so this dangerous bacterium and its spores can still be dangerous if exposed. Scientists use protective garb when excavating areas to be protected from the bacteria present.

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Global Warming and Shifting Climates

As the global temperature warms up, many issues need to be addressed. One is the excess water from glaciers and other ice masses, will they flood our oceans and spill over onto land masses?

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Another concern is the bodies of humans and animals covered deep in the frigid ice for hundreds and thousands of years. As melting occurs, will scientists find the remains of humans and other animals previously unknown?

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Bubble Lake

This body of water looks like someone was blowing bubbles, and they were captured under clear glass. The truth is much more frightening. These are bubbles made from methane that is trapped below the surface of the water by ice.

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While the picture is interesting and quite beautiful, the bubbles can be dangerous. If the water naturally melts, there is no problem. If the bubble is punctured, it can pop, releasing dangerous methane.

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