Errant Germans found alive for second time

Norwegian rescue services have found two German women, aged 22 and 25, who got lost in the Setesdal region of southern Norway twice in 48 hours, after shunning compass and map to set out on well-marked routes that they nonetheless strayed from.

Errant Germans found alive for second time
A police helicopter. File photo: Morten Holm/Scanpix

The errant duo did not make it to an assembly point that they had agreed upon with their larger group of hill walkers on Wednesday evening. 

Forced to await daylight, by 5am on Thursday the Red Cross had sent off staff into the mountains to find them while two helicopters took off to help to search for them.
The local Agder police district said they made contact with the women at a cabin in Sirdalsheiene during the afternoon.

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Svalbard peaks 100,000 years older than thought

The mountains of north west Svalbard are hundreds of thousands of years older than previously thought, a new study has found, throwing doubt over the way mountains' ages are estimated.

Svalbard peaks 100,000 years older than thought
The mountains of north west Svalbard. Photo: Norwegian Foreign Ministry/Flickr

The mountains of Svalbard are sharp and pointy, which geologists would typically cite as evidence that they are relatively young, as older mountains become rounded off and eroded by glaciers during ice ages.

However, a study led by Endre Før Gjermundsen, from the Department of Arctic Geology at The University Centre in Svalbard, showed that, although the Svalbard mountains had been covered in ice for long periods, they had not been eroded.

“The goal of our project was to find out how thick the ice had been during the last ice age,” he told Norway's state broadcaster NRK. “We found that these mountains had been covered by ice for a very long time, but erosion had been very small.”

Gjermundsen and his seven co-authors collected rock samples from the peaks of the mountains, and measured how much cosmic light they had been subjected to, using this to approximate the mountains' ages.

To their surprise, the steep peaks of Svalbard were very old, but had not been eroded.

Their results were published on Wednesday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Gjermundsen proposes that ice froze hard to the peaks, creating a protective armour which prevented erosion for at least a million years, dating the mountain range to the early Quaternary period.

The findings may have implications for other mountain ranges in the world which may also be older than geologists have previously believed.

“That is the big open question now,” Gjermundsen told NRK.