» Home > In the News

Alps of Otzi

23 December 2020

At https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/12/21/eastern-alps-may-have-been-ice-fr… … the eastern side of the Alps may have been ice free in the life time of Otzi the iceman. It might  have been better to say the Alps, as a whole, may have been largely ice free in around 3200BC – but we already knew that. Otzi died on the summit of a mountain and was frozen in situ by a sudden onset of very cold weather. He remained in the ice all the way down to 1991 when the snout of a glacier delivered him at a much lower elevation. Glaciers move over time. They expand down hill. However, the difference now is that a study has confirmed that ice formed rapidly. The Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna has done an analysis of a sediment core taken on the summit glacier, 11m in length. This tells us the mountain glacier on the summit is not going to melt any time soon. Global warmers might not like that but 11m is pretty thick. The core went down to bedrock, we are told. In other words, the ground beneath the ice. They extracted the ice core and were able to C14 date organic material. The ice was between 5200 and 6000 years of age – and Otzi is thought to have lived between 5100 and 5300 years ago, 3200BC or thereabouts. This suggests the ice formed fairly rapidly, without the body decomposing. The summit glacier is dome shaped. This is rare in the Alps, we are told, and means the glacier has seen little movement in the last 5000 years. The researchers will now study the climate via the ice core – which should be interesting. What was it like prior to 5200 years ago and how quickly did the cold weather kick in.

Skip to content