Monday, January 19, 2015

Winter Ice Takes Many Forms

The stream ice has been very interesting for the last few weeks. During this period we've been oscillating between deep freezes (with below zero temperatures) and brief thaws. This has produced some really cool ice formations in and around the streams and at the beaver ponds.
"Bulbs" of ice formed on the branches of the back side of the beaver dam
Ice "teeth" over the stream
The stream was completely hidden on some days
A very fine network of crystals formed on top of the ice in some places
Hourglass shaped "feet" appear to hold up a top layer of ice
Mist from the "warm" water causes feathery crystals to form on the ice's edges
thick feathery crystals form on branches hanging close to the stream
On the surface of the beaver pond, super cold temps cause "potato chip" - like crystals to form
These are actually the size of real potato chips - yum!

Stalactite type formations are common between ice layers
Expansion and contraction of the stream causes multiple layers of ice to form - In time they may melt into each other
Frozen dirty slush in some of the quieter tributaries resemble  angry storm clouds
Another 10 below zero day - It is quite survivable
Frost heave - these mushroom-like crystals shot 4 inches out of the ground in some snow-less places
Really fine needle-like crystals form on top of the pond ice after an extremely cold night
Some stream ice eroded into irregular lattice-like structures
A snow-melt revealed the tunnels network of shrews - note the deer footprints as well
More rodent tunnels revealed
Crow footprints on the frozen beaver pond
The beavers are doing fine under the ice
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