unsharp ice

iciclesWalking from Ogden Reservoir up the beck through Great Scar, I noticed these delightful iciles overhanging the stream. The solid luminous smooth ice contrasted with the pebbles, the fallen branch and the rushing water.

I found it fascinating to realise how their unusual shapes had been created by the water flowing underneath them.

Usually an icicle grows wider and longer, keeping its pointed shape, as water drips down it, solidifying into ice as it cools. But the stream washes away any water that drips too far down, imposing a limit on length but not on width. The water freezes as far down as it can get, causing the tip to spread sideways instead of tapering downwards.

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