Loch Ness would have been frozen solid during the last Ice Age, wouldn't it?

Be serious now.

I was reading a puff piece in the New Yorker (I know, I know–I only read it for the cartoons :rolleyes: ) on this Rines guy who’s apparently doing the definitive research project, looking for the Loch Ness monster. The article says he believes (?) that it’s an actual 65 million year old plesiosaur. Well, setting aside the idea of any biological organism surviving to such a ripe old age, even if Loch Ness is 800 feet deep, wouldn’t it have been frozen solid during the last Ice Age? How thick was the ice cap on Scotland anyway?

And if there were a colony of plesiosaurs living in Loch Ness when the glaciers came down, and if the loch hadn’t frozen completely solid, thus allowing them to swim around under the ice like goldfish in a pond (and I suppose they would have had to punch breathing holes in the ice like seals), what would they have eaten? If the surrounding landscape was totally locked down in ice, there wouldn’t have been any nutrients to wash down into the loch to nourish the food chain that ends in the salmon that Nessie is supposed to eat.

Right? I’m a little hazy on my Arctic biology.

I think your right. Most speculation is that they would have entered the loch shortly after the last ice age. The loch would have been accessable from the sea at that time because the ground had been compressed by the weight of the ice according to this theory.

I saw a really good Nova program which confirmed that the loch was indeed frozen for a solid chunk of time after the plesiosaurs were thought to be extinct. It was nice seeing a show that didn’t take a overly sensationalist approach to things. For more info and links check out:

Isn’t there a type of fish that can withstand being frozen solid and then thawed? Maybe the 65 million year old plesiosaur did the same thing :slight_smile:


Here’s the transcript of the PBS program “The Beast of Loch Ness”: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2601lochness.html

Frozen or not, Loch Ness is incapable of supporting even one creature the size of a Plesiosaur. There is insufficient biomass in the lake to support anything other than a large fish, perhaps a primitive sturgeon. Here is a copy of a UPI wire report from 1993 which describes the results of a thorough ecological study of the loch: http://www.freenet.carleton.ca/~bz050/HomePage.lnm1.html Not to mention the numerous and wide-raning sonar studies which have failed to register anything more than echoes and schools of fish. One would think this pleasant myth would go the way of faeries and phantom airships. Alas, it’s good for tourism and the Discovery Channel.

I’ve been to the Nessie museum near Inverness, it is worth a visit. In addition to talking about how the Loch was frozen, and the lack of sufficient biomass, it has displays about the various hoaxes thru the years, how optical illusions can fool you, and the various research projects that have taken place. The only ‘odd’ thing I saw while out on the Loch was a fighter jet zipping along about 50 feet over the water. The guide told us that the area is used for low flying practice.

No. This is rumored to be true of goldfish, but if a fish freezes, the fluid in it’s cells ruptures and the fish dies.

Amazingly, no amount of rational evidence is likely to convince the believers in ‘Nessie’ that she doesn’t exist; the frozen solid business makes sense to me, although I’m no expert in geology, and I wonder if glaciers don’t carve out their own lakes anyway. Regardless, Nessie fans have a powerful affection for the absurd; this won’t sway them a bit.

  • Rick

Thank you, everybody, especially for the info about the biomass. I kinda knew that, but it’s nice to have it scientifically confirmed. I didn’t know that anybody had actually gone out there and done a study.

I don’t want to start a gramar/usage thread, so:

Okay, why aren’t we calling this thing a lake? When talking about rivers in Mexico, we don’t say “there’s this rio in Mexico…” unless it’s part of the river’s name, e.g. The Rio Grande.

Just curious.

Loch is the term given to Scottish inland bodies of water.

These are not necassarily lakes, nor necassarily freshwater.

They do. Though I don’t remember what they call them off the top of my head. Glaciers do all sorts of rearanging of the landscape. What I don’t understand is how a lake that is 800 feet deep can freeze, though I don’t know that much about the ice ages. The reason they are called Lochs IIRC is because they connect to the sea but I don’t remember how.

The English-speaking locals (and English is the first language of most of the locals) almost invariably refer to inland stretches of water in Scotland as ‘lochs’ and this usage is now standard among all other informed English speakers.

Most of the arguments outlined above are accepted by everyone except the hardened believers. The biomass argument seems decisive. The usual get-out to the point raised in the OP is that ‘it’ got into the loch via the River Ness which flows from the loch to the sea. Melting ice may have produced a large river than the one known today. There is also a connection to the sea via the Crinan Canal which was built to provide a shipping route via the loch.

Attrayant, tis true, they are called lochs over here. I believe there is only one “lake” in Scotland, buggered if I can remember what it’s called. Kinda an integral part of the name really, who’s ever heard of Lake Ness or Lake Lomond? And be sure to say it with a big chunk of phlegm on your tongue for the proper pronunciation :slight_smile:

OK, I’ve resisted the hijack thus far, but yes, they are lochs, dammit. You don’t refer to Norwegian fjords as "long narrow inlets, sort of lakes but connected to the sea, do you? Oh, and in England there are meres and tarns and becks and so on too. Lovely words. Come to think of it, there probably aren’t all that many “lakes” as such in the Lake District. Aren’t words fun?:slight_smile:

TheMadHun You’re right about the one lake - it’s the Lake of Menteith. I can’t remember why it is a lake , though.

To return to the OP and to add to the confusion, I recall that there used to be suggestions of a “Nessie” sort of creature also existing in Loch Morar, but nothing has been heard of that one for quite a while. Maybe it’s time to restart the rumour.

It’s a loch because local usage calls it a loch, and local usage always prevails. Mexico isn’t a good analog, since they’re speaking Spanish, not English, as the Scots generally do.