Thursday, December 20, 2012

Frost Flowers

Bizarre, but Beautiful

Sea ice blossoms
 ~ A meadow of saltwater ice crystal flowers, three time saltier than the ocean itself.
The air was extremely cold and extremely dry, colder than the ocean surface. When the air gets that different from the sea, the dryness pulls moisture off little bumps in the ice, bits of ice vaporize, the air gets humid — but only for a while. The cold makes water vapor heavy. The air wants to release that excess weight, so crystal by crystal, air turns back into ice, creating delicate, feathery tendrils that reach sometimes two, three inches high, like giant snowflakes. The sea, literally, blossoms.
With the disappearance of Arctic sea ice, I suppose we'll be seeing more of these.

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