Monday, December 13, 2010

Ice Formations

When I was looking for birds at Scherman Hoffman on Saturday, I also noticed some interesting ice formations. Even though Saturday itself was relatively warm, the preceding few days and nights had been cold enough to freeze both the ground and standing water. The Passaic River, which flows through the preserve, was partially iced over. In some places the ice was in flat sheets. In other places it formed globular clusters or looked almost like drapery (as in the image above).

Despite the ice, the river ran as fast as ever.

A hard freeze combined with uneven ground surfaces made for some interesting shapes underfoot. Even as the ground around it was softening, this bit of ice kept its dagger-like shape.

I have always been fascinated by the ability of a hard freeze to reshape the ground by pushing it up in some places. In this case frost pushed up a mossy patch, and then the moss collapsed in places. The result is like a cliff in miniature.