Melting glaciers reveal a gruesome secret in the Swiss Alps

EnvironmentSwitzerland

Twitter Facebook Google+ 9 shares

After recent discoveries of a couple that had disappeared 75 years ago as well as the body parts of a German hiker, Swiss authorities issue a warning that many more similar discoveries are still to come.

Climate change is taking it's toll

Climate change is taking it's toll
sumners/123RF

Jewelry, weapons, lunchboxes and...bodies. As glaciers shrink in Bodies aren't the only remnants of the past coming back. In 2012, 3,500 year old 'lunchbox', was found in the Swiss Alps. The round wooden box contained traces food and scientists believe that it belonged to goat herders. Other items which have been discovered recently include jewelry as well as bow and arrows.the Swiss Alps, the past is coming back up to the surface.

In July, a ski lift operator on the Tsanfleuron glacier, located above the resort of Les Diablerets, noticed a dark shape under the ice nearby. Rescuers were called to the scene where they proceeded to find two mummified bodies.

Identity papers found along with the bodies said they were Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin this was later confirmed to be true through DNA testing. The couple disappeared in 1942 when they left to milk their cows. Their seven children were left alone at home.

The authorities believe they fell into a crevasse where the cold temperature kept their bodies preserved for decades.

When the discovery was announced their youngest daughter, now aged 75, said the news that her parents had been found gave her "deep sense of calm."

Speaking to the Swiss paper, Le Matin she said: "We spent our whole lives looking for them, without stopping. We thought that we could give them the funeral they deserved one day,"

More and more frozen bodies are being found

More and more frozen bodies are being found
Igor Rogkoff

Just last week, the body of a German man who had been missing for 30 years was uncovered.

Two climbers on the Hohlaub glacier stumbled upon a hand and the tips of a pair of shoes poking out from underneath the ice.

Rescuers were called to the scene where they used ice picks as well as their bare hands to dig up the dead man. The feet were no longer attached to the body leading one of the rescuers to suggest that the man had slipped into a crevice, his feet however had gotten stuck and so were ripped off during the fall.

The remains were helicoptered to Bern, where after a series of DNA tests the forensics team matched the DNA to that of a German citizen, born in 1943, who had gone missing on a hike in August 1987. They also recovered a ring and watch nearby.

A local police spokesperson said: "The glaciers are retreating, so it's logical that we're finding more and more bodies and body parts

"In the coming years we expect that many more cases of missing persons will be resolved,"

Head of the mountain rescue team, Rolf Trachsel, who led the efforts to uncover the German man's body, said the area where he was found is popular with hikers. "There was very little snow, and it was not very steep. It was about half an hour's hike away from the next mountain cable-car station."

But, now, thanks to global warming there is less snow every year and which has increased the chance of gruesome discoveries.

Trachsel added that the missing bodies will finally give the families peace of mind saying "If someone has gone missing, logic tells you their body has to turn up again one day,

"It's obviously good that we can put our efforts into recovering someone, especially after 30 years, and knowing how important it is for the family to find out what happened."

There are over 100 mountaineers who are currently missing on France's Mont Blanc and around 40 bodies are thought to be buried within the Morteratsch glacier in in eastern Switzerland.

Bodies aren't the only remnants of the past coming back. In 2012, 3,500 year old 'lunchbox', was found in the Swiss Alps. The round wooden box contained traces food and scientists believe that it belonged to goat herders. Other items which have been discovered recently include jewelry as well as bow and arrows.

According to official estimates, the glaciers in Europe have lost about two thirds of their volume since 1850 and by 2100, many scientists predict, they will have disappeared altogether.

So, while these discoveries are interesting for archeologists, they are a grave reminder that global warming is irreversibly altering our landscape.

Related Articles

Hillary Step: what's happened to Everest's famous ledge?
Exploring the Julian Alps
The Most Beautiful Alpine Towns
The Best Places To Have An Ideal Holiday In Switzerland

Xenia Evans
Posted on 13/08/2017 9 shares
Twitter Facebook Google+
Exploring Moscow's incredible architecture Exploring Moscow's incredible architecture One in five cabin crew experience physical abuse on the job One in five cabin crew experience physical abuse on the job