San Diego, CA
Icicle In Reverse
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
An icicle is a spike of ice, usually hanging down, formed when water falling from an object freezes. The icicle in this photograph however was rising from the floor towards the sky.
Is it possible that a glittering ice stalagmite froms from the floor up? Yes,it is - in a "supercooling" situation. A snow-covered roof on a sunny, frigid day makes a perfect icicle stalagmite incubator.
Snow on the rooftop, melted by the sun,trickled as lukewarm water from the roof and landed on the extremely cold floor in the shade where it instantly refroze and formed sheets of thin ice crystals. These crystals, like those in snowflakes, formed a 60 degree angle and created the base of the ice spike as it grew in this strange angle. Ice added to ice, drip by drip, and slowly the icicle grew towards the sky. It's a pretty neat phenomenon.
This reverse icicle was about 20 cm long. Of course it has melted now, but I was in awe when I watched it grow. It was a good reminder that there are still a million wonders of nature out there waiting for our discovery!
August 3rd, 2012
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