National Geographic reports on a new(ish) theory on the Dyatlov Pass incident [edit: moved from archived original]: a small avalanche with a large chunk of snow could have caused the blunt-force injuries, leading to them evacuating the tent, without leaving the expected (but missing) signs of a full avalanche.

The bizarre deaths of hikers at Russia’s Dyatlov Pass have inspired countless conspiracy theories, but the answer may lie in an elegant computer model based on surprising sources.

An avalanche could explain why they cut their way out of their tent and were found scattered around the campsite, but there was no snowfall and no signs of an avalanche when the bodies were found, and it doesn’t explain the various injuries.

Car crash test data combined with snow simulations developed for Frozen — and the fact that some of the hikers put their bedrolls on top of their skis makes the injuries fit if a slab of snow landed on the tent.

And the team diary recorded strong winds, which most likely would have been blowing downslope, which could have moved enough snow around to trigger a small avalanche.

Not conclusive, of course, but within the realm of possibility.

Of course, a mini avalanche isn’t as exciting as, say, an attack by Yeti or running into an experimental Soviet weapons test!