British geographers from the University of Manchester have discovered four previously unknown glaciers while on a recent expedition to the “cursed” Prokletije mountains of Albania. The discovery was published in the December issue of Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, ahead of a full scholarly paper to be released later this year.
The newly found glaciers are located unusually low on the mountains,, beginning at roughly 6500 feet. But despite that, their existence has gone unnoticed for so long because the region has been embroiled in war and chaos for decades. Over the past decade some semblance of order has been achieved in the region, and it has allowed expeditions to explore the mountains more fully. The peaks are considered cursed by the locals, so few have ever ventured up their slopes.
The researchers from the university were completely surprised by their discovery. They suspect that other than a few local shepherds, no one else was even aware of the existence of the glaicers. They were also surprised to find them at such low altitudes and so far south. Glaciers at the same latitude are generally found much higher on mountains, but ample snow fall and cool temperatures all year long, help to feed these patches of snow.
By all accounts, the Prokletije mountains are said to be quite beautiful, offering good opportunities for trekking and backpacking throughout the area. The discovery of the glaciers is likely to make the region even more appealing to adventurous travelers looking to visit an area that has been mostly off limits for years.