This story started summer of 1977, in a freezing camera of Research Institute of Arctic and Antarctic in then-Leningrad.
At that time, the Institute was situated in an old palace, in the quay of the Fantanka River. We worked for Hydrometeorology Institute at a project. The freezing camera was not empty: there were some deep-water ice examples mined through boring the Antarctic ices.
That unforgettable day, there was a dispute about the age of the mined ice. One of our specialists was persuaded that the age of the piece of ice was 20,000 years, while another said it was 13,000 years old, because namely at that time a global catastrophe took place which annihilated Athlantis and caused global glaciation. Though, the opponent insisted on his position referring to scientific data: 20,000 years was the age of the wooden chip found in one of the ice pieces. The age of the chip was ascertained with radio-carbon method.
Though, the supporter of the Athlantis theory did not give up: Earlier, there was no ice in Antarctic. There was probably some baobab growing there for 7,000 years, then glaciation started, and a piece of wood got to ice. So, you get 20,000 years!
This dispute made me search for some other insertions in the mined ice, though, after superficial investigation of several specimens, I did not find anything.
In this very moment, a group of visitors came to the camera to see the many-thousand-year-old ice. A young visitor even wanted to lick the piece of ancient ice. I forbid it pretexting some microorganisms which could have remained in ice including agents of some unknown diseases.
Apropos, the institute administration ignored this possible danger. So, I decided to take an initiative and to carry out at least the simplest research: to look at the samples through microscope.
I managed to find an ally – that was my friend, a microbiologist, candidate of science. This woman wanted to write thesis for a Doctor’s Degree. If we found some microbes in ice, that could allow to her to add a good chapter to her thesis.
Among the samples we chose for our research there was one, the most interesting: there were some threads. The piece of ice melted soon, and we could see several golden hairs – 2-cm-long and as thick as human hair.
We could see through microscope that the hairs were pieces of some metal wire of goldish colour. All hairs had the same length and were cut off very accurately. While pressing upon the hairs, some dents appeared, as if the hairs were created of a soft metal.
Later we made a chemical test, using hydrochloric, sulphuric, nitric and acetic acids. The golden hair stood the test, and now we had no doubt: the hair was gold.
Several years passed, and in State Hydrometeorology Committee, a commission on anomalous phenomena launched its work. At one of its sittings, I told about my find. The chairman of the committee, academician Fiodorov became interested in the find and handed it over to his friend, who was the head of Crystallography Institute of Soviet Academy of Science.
The Institute carried out the test of the hairs and concluded the stuff was alloy of gold and silver. It should be noticed that in 1984, a report appeared in the press, that US researchers had found golden hairs in Antarctic ice.
Though, if the press does not lie, that was not a sensation. Already in 1844, the British newspaper <b><i>Times</i></b> reported about some golden thread found in a stone, at a depth of 2.5 m in Berwickshire. 50 years later, a piece of golden wire was found in Australian limestone, while in 1957 – in Africa, in a piece of granite. Though, the age of these finds is millions of years. Apropos, even odder things are sometimes found in stones: from nails to small gold chains and vessels of “some complex metal” which seem to have got there dozens of millions years ago.
Translated by Vera Solovieva