Four frozen sharks have washed up in Massachusetts amid a winter storm which has brought heavy snow and freezing temperatures to the US East Coast.
The dead male thresher sharks found on beaches in Cape Cod were all too frozen for researchers to perform immediate post-mortem examinations.
It has emerged that the latest shark carcass was discovered on New Year’s Eve in an ice pack near Wellfeet, towards the northern hook of Cape Cod.
Rough conditions prevented researchers from recovering the body, Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) programme director Michelle Wcisel told the Cape Code Times.
Another frozen shark, measuring 14ft, was found on 29 December in Brewster and had to be thawed at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fisheries service before researchers could examine it.
The discovery came two days after a pair of male thresher sharks were found stranded on a nearby beach.
Authorities believe all four sharks died from cold shock.
Thresher sharks, a solitary species which breach like dolphins, are commonly spotted offshore in Cape Cod during the summer.
They usually migrate to warmer waters in the south, but the AWSC says some may have got caught in the hook of Cape Cod before being trapped in the peninsula’s bay.
Scientists believe threshers are impaired when exposed to waters below 44F (6.7C).
Cape Cod Bay’s water temperature fell to 2.6C on Thursday, according to the NOAA.
New England, which includes Massachusetts, experienced a severe cold snap in December which developed into a bomb cyclone this week.
Storm Grayson has brought heavy snow and freezing temperatures to eastern parts of the US, including the usually tropical Florida.
A bomb cyclone is caused by a storm’s central low pressure dropping at least 24 millibars in 24 hours, bringing in hurricane-force winds.