Pat Shingleton: "Praying for Glaciers, Walking on Water..."
In 1678, the towns of Fieschertal and Fiesch, located in the Swiss Alps, were flooded because of the Aletsch glacier. The flooding empowered residents to take a formal vow, praying that the Aletsch glacier would stop growing. In addition to the prayer intentions, an annual procession was initiated to reduce the ice mass. For more than 300 years, the glacier has shrunk at a moderate rate thus reducing the threat of flooding. Scientists determined that the glacier decreased 3.5 kilometers over three centuries. Experiencing a lack of fresh water, residents have reversed their prayer intentions and are now praying for the glacier’s growth that included, years ago, an intervention from Pope Benedict XVI which is similar to the original vow sent to Pope Innocent XI. Finally, in 2007, scientist Doron Nof published in the Journal of Paleolimnology a possible explanation for the New Testament story of Jesus walking on water. As noted in a previous Weather News, The Sea of Galilee, known as Lake Kinneret, could have experienced “springs ice.” Springs ice occurs during a period of frigid temperatures over calm lakes or ponds. The frigid temperatures mix with salty plumes, creating springs ice. It appears as a small patch of ice floating on the surface of a lake. According to Nof, the ice could have created the appearance of Jesus walking over the water. He believes that this freezing process could have happened a few times during the last 12,000 years, occurring at Lake Kinneret between 2,550 and 1,500 years ago.
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