Thursday, January 31, 2013

Upside-down icicles

These were a weird thing that happened during the freeze.

We have a rather untidy and unlovely old plastic garden table top adorning our back terrace, waiting for us to find a way to transport it to the tip, where it's legs have gone before.  One of the reasons it's difficult to move is that it was left upside down, thereby forming a series of pockets which have filled with a not insignificant volume of rainwater, which makes it very heavy.  When this water froze a series of inverted icicles were formed, pushing up out of the pockets of water.  We'd not seen such a thing before and can't really explain it, except perhaps it was something to do with the differing rates of expansion/contraction of the ice and the plastic surrounding it which caused the latter to push the former out of shape, or something.












Rather odd, and somewhat fascinating.


29 comments:

Chloe said...

Fascinating indeed!

Nimble said...

Or it was possessed by a teeny tiny ice demon.

The Crow said...

How wonderful and beautiful, and, of course, how mysterious. I wish that I had your eye for capturing these fanstasic glimpses into other worlds, Lucy.

marja-leena said...

Wow, isn't nature quite the artist!? You have captured these beautifully with your eye and camera, Lucy.

Ellena said...

Interesting phenomenon and beautyful photos, Lucy. I googled and came across 'Ice spike' that formed overnight in a bird feeder. Looks like yours - leaning to one side.

the polish chick said...

wow!

zephyr said...

what a marvel!
i have never seen anything like it
Apparently, the phenomenon is common in ice cube trays--which your table top is sorta like. Water that is super-cooled, air circulation, etc.

great photos

Here is a link:
http://www.ehow.com/info_8541264_causes-upwards-icicles-ice-cubes.html

zephyr said...

Actually...i'm not remembering that we had an "ice growth" come up from the bird bath, one winter many years ago--but nothing like your beautiful spikes.

Rouchswalwe said...

My left eyebrow shot up as I saw these. Fascinating!

Mouse said...

Ice Age Art.
How amazing!

marja-leena said...

I was trying to find something related and amazing I'd read a while ago. I found it!

See these frost flowers on the ocean:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2012/12/17/167469845/suddenly-theres-a-meadow-in-the-ocean-with-flowers-everywhere

marly youmans said...

Oh, I love these crystalline shark fins full of little moss-seed blebs! So glad you investigated. And that you didn't take the table to the dump... Strange how beauty sometimes rises out of something utterly mundane and rejected.

Joe Hyam said...

I wonder if you can make music with icicles. If not someone should compose music to accompany these photographs.

Anonymous said...

Lucy - I'm leaving you a note in response to an Alison McGhee blog about ELO's "Sweet is the Night." Please check out Juliana Hatfield's cover version of the song on her CD featuring nothing but cover songs. I'm sure you'll like it.

Lucy said...

Thanks everyone, and thanks Zephyr for the explanatory link - it's clearly a more complicated matter than I thought! - and ML for the related amazing snow blossoms!

And thanks Anonymous, I'll check it out, how exciting. It's for things like this I'm so glad I allow anonymous comments!

Dick said...

Beautiful pictures of a strange phenomenon.

Roderick Robinson said...

Don't want to be harsh about Anon but I would recommend you hold back if it isn't too late. I have received several such responses with equally apparent authenticity; then there's been a tiny recognisable glitch. Should you choose to go ahead, open up your AV software first and see if there's any response when you click on the link you've been provided with. It's a new non-spectator sport recommended quite recently by my neighbourhood computer guru. "Some AV systems are so speedy you can see them catch viruses 'on the fly'," he said. The baseball reference proved seductive.

Again the gloomy, deflationary techno nay-sayer, who comes late to the party and goes straight for the booze which you thought you'd hidden in the coal scuttle. Speaking with Occam's Razor in my hand, are you absolutely sure there are no potential overhead sources of dripping water near your table? In my defence let me say that such an explanation would not diminish the prettiness of these forms; to my way of thinking it would enhance them. Bangs door unnecessarily as he leaves - stoned.

Lucy said...

Thanks again.

Robbie - but anon didn't leave any link, simply invited me to check out the song in question in whichever way I choose. The context leaves my mind at rest that while they may have an interest in promoting JH's work for whatever reason, they are not putting me at risk from viruses, malware or similar. I have had a look at JH's own website (kosher according to WOT, and anyway she's a mainstream artist of many years standing so unlikely to hve a dodgy website),and I've had a preview listen on Amazon, neither of which actions involved following any links suspicious or otherwise, or downloading anything. If I were to buy the track from Amazon, I would do so legitimately, store it on Amazon Cloud, so not download it anyway. I never follow direct links from anonymous comments, and usually delete any comments that seem to be flogging anything immediately.

The icicles were not formed by drips. If you read the article Zephyr refers to, it's apparently a well-documented if fairly unusual phenomenon, which can be created in the home environment to some extent using distilled water and an empty freezer, though not so impressively as here, which must have been the result of very particular conditions. It will also tell you how to make luminous ice cubes using either tonic water and a UV light or else by freezing led lights into them! Now that does sound a bit dodgy...

Roderick Robinson said...

You let me down very gently. You might well have tacked on an equally gentle para pointing out in general terms the perils of working from memory, rather than going back to the original.

For me there's an ironic footnote about using links cited in emails and blogger comments even when they come from people I know perfectly well. The newer and much fiercer version of my Kaspersky AV software (three licences spread over my desktop, VR's desktop and my "tablet"... Don't ask! Don't ask!) simply rules out the practice. If I really want to access such links I'm required to save them to Favourites first.

I remember the pre-Windows days when strings of green-coloured DOS code on a screen with a dark background seemed discouragingly technical. Yet within a week I was writing that stuff myself and routinely re-programming my computer's operating system. Now everything's so much easier (pictures instead of words) - providing, of course, one can remember everything.

I'll confine myself in future to poking fun at lines in Hymns A&M.

PS: Moved by your recent Chrome encomium I re-installed it yet again since it appeared to solve a problem I had with posting images in my blog. Alas, for that smallish benefit, tsunamis of difficulty developed elsewhere and it's been re-interred. And yet you talked of sun-drenched uplands...

Lucy said...

That's all right, grey and brown shrimps. In fact now I have WV back on again, I get very few spam comments with links in. I don't leave embedded links anywhere myself any more, partly because I'm useless with HTML, so have to write them in a dummy post in Blugger's post editor then cut and paste the HTML, which seems like too much effort just to look clever, and partly because when I did so once at Rouchswalwe's, with a perfectly respectable link to a German poetry website, it got dumped into Blugger's own spam filter, so clearly that is very sensitive to any embedded links.

With Chrome, you can go instantly to any URL just by highlighting it and right clicking, and you can do an instant Google search on any piece of text the same way. I love Chrome and all its tricks, but you are one of several I've heard complaining of problems posting pictures on Blugger which can only seem to be solved by switching to Chrome, and I do suspect Google of nudging everything, activley or passively, towards their own internet hegemony. Having thrown in my lot with them completely by getting the Chromebook, I don't see any point in resisting or bemoaning this, and it does, as I say, have its merits. Apparently, without a Windows OS and with doing almost everything on-line and not downloading much anyway, not only is it faster but it's quite difficult to catch any viruses or fall prey to any malware.

And it was cheap. They've got me eating out of their hand really.

Isabelle said...

Wonderful and strange pictures.

I hope your eye is better. I couldn't read the details, being Very Squeamish especially about eyes (out out, vile jelly and all that, urgh).

Crafty Green Poet said...

what amazing icicles!

Clive Hicks-Jenkins said...

Your 'unlovely' old garden table is making lovely art. Something to be learned from that, no doubt!

What beautiful photographs too. An art collaboration!

Laureline said...

Gasp-inducing and beautiful. Of course such things would happen in your world. Very Lucy to have them in the first place, to notice them, and to document them so exquisitely.

Zhoen said...

I've read about these, failed to look it up for you, but that is fine because Ellena got it sorted and Zephyr referenced it, and this is an utterly pointless comment, but it's late and at the end and no one but you will likely read it.

So there.

Very cool phenomenon. Literally and figuratively.

Lucy said...

Thanks again.

Isabelle, the eye's more or less better now, thanks. I pride myself on not being too squeamish about eyes, but lots of people are.

Zhoen - thank you anyway. I really should put another post up...

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Absolutely mind-bloggingly stupendous upward-pointing icicles from another planet. Never mind *why*..just look and let jaw drop!

missHLiza said...

Yay Lucy I can comment now! Those icicles are truly out-of-this-world! Aren't they beautiful? It's nice seeing nature miracles from your eyes Lucy..

Sheila said...

I was going to write "Fascinating indeed!" and then clicked to comment and saw that was exactly what Chloe wrote in the first comment. So now I have two reasons to say it--fascinating indeed!

I love these pictures, and I love that you take the time to notice so many little things in life and to share them with us.