Sadly, it's beginning to look like the Loch Ness Monster does not have a cousin in Alaska, but a video shot by a Bureau of Land Management worker was fun all the same. In the original Facebook post, the BLM said the video "captured this strange 'thing' swimming in the Chena River in Fairbanks." The "thing" quickly became known as the Alaska Ice Monster, with all kinds of crazy theories from commenters about what it might be. NPR rounds up some of them, including a giant sturgeon, a lost shark, a "beavegator" (no idea), a Nessie-ish creature, and a "giant arctic crocodile." Mother Nature News took note of this one: "What is the likelihood that this is a whale that seriously lost its way from the Yukon river, transferring across other small river fjords into the Chena?"
Alas, the BLM then updated with a less exciting explanation. "So far the most compelling explanation ... is that the video shows 'frazil ice stuck to a rope that is probably caught on a bridge pier.'" Frazil ice is "a kind of loose, slushy ice that forms on water," explains Alaska Dispatch News. "It looks like it's swimming upstream but it's actually stationary and just wading in the current," a biologist with the state's Department of Fish and Game says of the formerly mysterious subject of the video, adding, "it's not organic." Not that the fun is necessarily over. "Such a clear, scientific explanation isn't likely to stop the multiplication of more 'creative' stories about the Alaska 'ice monster,'" observes the Christian Science Monitor. (A drone hunting for Nessie had a weird false alarm.)