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In response to: Black Ice

Jon [Member]
Wow, Dennis, those are fantastic patterns and great photos -- thanks for the link!

Many people seem to think that the curvy ice patterns only form on glass. But it only requires a thin film of water. This is why I call it "film frost". In addition to the cases of concrete and plastic shown above, I've also seen it on wood. I don't recall ever seeing it on rock, or if I have, never as startling as the formations you photographed.

PermalinkPermalink 03/01/13 @ 18:44

In response to: Black Ice

just posted some photos of black ice on my flickr site. so far, you are the only site i have found that has similar shots of this phenomenon!
go to my site and check out the patterns that showed up on our flat rocks at our home in ct. i have never seen this before in my life! so far i think that people who see this think it is a hoax or something!
thanks, dennis
PermalinkPermalink 03/01/13 @ 16:36

In response to: An Ice Vase Sprouts From a Bathtub

Jon [Member]
Well, thanks Tom.
The ice wall sounds like a drainage feature, related to the "crunchy puddle" phenomenon (as you mention), and the Jan 27, 2013 entry on puddles.

Clearly, there is a lot more to observe and describe about frozen puddles! I'd really like to see a photo of this one you mentioned.

PermalinkPermalink 03/01/13 @ 08:49

In response to: An Ice Vase Sprouts From a Bathtub

Tom Todd [Visitor]
Well done, Jon! I found (and extensively photographed, if you want any example) a beautiful ice wall in a Swedish forest puddle. It was about 3cm high, sharp at the top, and about 100cm long, with a tringular cross-section which stood clear at the 1cm thick base from the main frozen surface, indicating water level changes. (Nearby there were many "crunchy puddles" as you call them.) The formation curved around the inside of the puddle to form a large ellipse, and was bafffling until I read your blog on ice vases.
PermalinkPermalink 02/28/13 @ 14:42

In response to: What makes the thick curvy lines in frozen puddles?

Jon [Member]
Hi Andy,
I bet you miss the ice and snow sometimes! Unfortunately, we haven't had a frost day in weeks, and we haven't had much sun either, just the usual NW winter rain. In Japan, we would often have both frost and sun.

Nice to hear about the grandson. Would like to see you guys together, reading about snow or otherwise.


PermalinkPermalink 02/05/13 @ 22:35

In response to: What makes the thick curvy lines in frozen puddles?

Andy [Visitor]
Hello Jon
I just started reading this blog it is very cool. I sent a copy of your book to my grandson Oren Nelson and am looking forward to reading it with him.
I hope all is well with you and your family
PermalinkPermalink 02/05/13 @ 08:58

In response to: Hair Ice on Wood and Pavement

Jon [Member]
Glad to hear that you see hair ice a lot. Tell me if you also see ribbon ice. I'll try to post a photo of ribbon ice that a friend took.

I gave a Science Cafe talk recently about ice formations, and one fellow mentioned seeing ribbon ice from a mushroom. So, keep an eye out for mushrooms on those hair-ice days.

PermalinkPermalink 01/28/13 @ 11:49

In response to: Hair Ice on Wood and Pavement

Ellen Madsen [Visitor]
Thanks so much. I've been seen hair-ice for years on alder at Mclane Creek Nature Trail & calling it hoar frost. Have to educate the other regulars about it.

It's been a great year for hair-ice out there!
PermalinkPermalink 01/28/13 @ 00:55

In response to: Eyes and Dry Moats

art [Visitor]
This is truly great stuff, Jon! And its so much more erudite, more informative than what I do. If I get into that topic again, I HAVE to reference your work here!
PermalinkPermalink 01/22/13 @ 07:11

In response to: Black Ice

Jon [Member]
Ah, I understand the difficulty! It is hard to picture these three-dimensional patterns and shapes, and even harder to see how they form. Some good drawings would really help.

I think you are referring to the triangular features that appear in the first puddle photo of the next blog posting "The Crunch Puddle Puzzle". But it sounds like the features you saw did not have completely drained water, and as a result, the bars of ice that formed the perimeter of the triangles were a little higher than the interior region of the triangle. Perhaps they were also a little higher than the region exterior to the bars.

Once, I saw 1/2" deep holes in the top surface of an outdoor bathtub. I still find that puzzling. But I will try to post a few explanatory drawings in the next few days.

PermalinkPermalink 01/15/13 @ 10:57

In response to: Black Ice

bex [Visitor]
I was searching for info on why I am seeing unique (to me) ice formations on puddles and ponds in Mendocino County, N. California. I didn't absorb the's late and I read it fast. I'm also old and my brain is toast so I will have to read it more slowly. The formations I have seen are triangles that are frozen on the surface (horizontal) of the water; around edges of triangles are "frames" of ice 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide which appear to rise a bit above the surface of the triangles. I asked my husband, a science guy, who said he thot it had to do with wind as the ice is forming. There hasn't been any wind!
PermalinkPermalink 01/15/13 @ 03:33

In response to: BEDFISH: Revising an old Idea for Classifying Surface Ice Forms

esther a.a [Visitor] ·
i love the way they explain everthing
PermalinkPermalink 09/29/12 @ 21:17

In response to: What We Sometimes Miss

Jon [Member]
Hi Gabriel,

Fantastic, isn't it? Each frost pattern is unique, and once things warm up, it's gone forever. One has to photograph spectacular displays, and then wonder why?

If you post the pictures, please send the link here. I wish there was a way to post images in the comments section.


PermalinkPermalink 02/14/12 @ 23:47

In response to: What We Sometimes Miss

Gabriel [Visitor]
I'm typing with frozen fingers, just walked back indoors and it's 5ish in the am - was out walking the dog and saw these extraordinary fernlike patterns over a dark blue carhood, and it struck me because a road lamppost was flickering above it. At first I thought it was bad wax work coming through, then I stopped and ended up taking pics with my cellphone for half an hour - I had NEVER seen something so spectacular to date, had to take photos least I should be considered a visionary lol!
PermalinkPermalink 02/14/12 @ 23:17

In response to: The Six-fold Nature of Snow

Jon [Visitor]
Thanks Al for the insightful comments.
The farmer-scientist Wilson Bentley was certainly amazing in his accomplishments, particularly given his circumstances, but sadly underappreciated, even now. I was disappointed to find some years back that he wasn't even mentioned in the Encyclopedia Brittanica.

Whenever I think I know how things "are supposed to be", I find some exception. It certainly keeps us thinking!

- Jon

PermalinkPermalink 02/01/12 @ 17:59

In response to: The Six-fold Nature of Snow

Al LePage [Visitor]

You have done a very nice job here, especially regarding the history of science, and how an educated and open-minded person, simply observing and trying to figure out what's going on from ice crystals in snowflakes in terms of molecular structure at the atomic and subatomic level, can indeed have great insight, as did the farmer-scientist, being years ahead of his time, and not encumbered by current facts.

Great stuff here to perhaps inspire aspiring young scientists to learn about how to do science without being attached to "how things are supposed to be" . . . as did Michael Faraday, thereby leading to some great discoveries with experimentation, observation and analysis at it's core.

Thank you.
PermalinkPermalink 01/28/12 @ 02:12

In response to: The Six-fold Nature of Snow

Jon [Member]
Marvelous designs indeed.
And there's so much more to explore.

PermalinkPermalink 01/07/12 @ 00:27

In response to: The Six-fold Nature of Snow

buck steele [Visitor]
good informative article. thanks for your work and willingness to share it, grace to you in your further exploration into the marvelous designs of the Master Designer.
PermalinkPermalink 01/06/12 @ 23:17

In response to: The Six-fold Nature of Snow

Jon [Member]
You are very welcome. And thanks for the feedback -- it's really nice to hear!

PermalinkPermalink 12/04/11 @ 08:47

In response to: The Six-fold Nature of Snow

Amanda Kirk [Visitor]
Wonderful articles, truly illuminating. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
PermalinkPermalink 12/02/11 @ 16:24