Friday, December 20, 2013

Hair Ice

With the recent sub-freezing weather I was hoping for more Hair Ice on our property.  I only found one example of this delicate and relatively rare ice formation.

Same twig 6 days later:

Closeup of same twig

Found another Alder branch a few feet away with similar ice formation

Found some more this morning, 1-4-2014

Closeup of the above picture; the pores in the wood are incredibly small- I got as close as I could with my 180mm macro lens.  This picture only covers an area of about 1" x 1"


Thuja said...

What causes this ice formation?

metasequoia said...

I don't know the precise process other than it only occurs when wet, dead branches are exposed to freezing air temperatures. Around here it only happens with Alder branches that have been on the ground for at least 1 year and have started to lose their bark.

Thuja said...

That's what I've observed too. Last year when I found some there were tiny insects in the ice, looking a little bit like the black bugs on oxeye daisies, but smaller. I speculated that perhaps they were responsible for boring minute holes in the decomposing alder wood, which resulted in the distinctive ice. However, that's only speculation, I haven't examined it under a microscope.