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Dyatlov Memorial Foundation

Nine hikers mysteriously perished in the Russian mountains in 1959. Scientists may now know why

In 1959, nine hikers were found dead with inexplicable injuries in the snowy Ural Mountains of the former Soviet Union. The event, known as the Dyatlov Pass incident, has spawned numerous theories, from a Yeti attack to secret military experiments. Now, researchers using computer simulations offer a more plausible explanation, National Geographic reports. In an article published today in Communications Earth & Environment, they provide data to support the idea that a small avalanche could have caused the injuries that led to the deaths. According to the model, the hikers’ fate was caused by a combination of irregular topography, a cut made in the slope to install their tent, and heavy snow accumulation caused by strong winds.

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