Monday, December 14, 2009

Ice on Pond

A rainfall total of 0.6 inches for November allowed the pond to shrink down to a puddle. A recent 1.7 inch rainfall brought the pond back up to full just in time for the cold temperatures to freeze the surface.

A seasonal spring that flows during the winter, maintains a pocket of warm water that never ices over. This provides an area of open water that is available through the coldest of winters.

When all other water sources are covered by ice, birds swarm here to drink and bath.

The pond doesn’t stay at the full level for very long. As the water exits through the pond bottom, ice is left on the bank behind the receding pool.

The thin layer of ice is marked by bands created by the departing water. Adhesion holds the water against the lower side of the ice. A thin line of ice forms along the water margin, increasing the effectiveness of the bond between water and ice. Eventually, the water drops to a point where gravity defeats adhesion and the process begins again at a slightly lower level. Each time this occurs, another band is added to the ice.

The falling water level leaves ice collars on the willows and dogwoods. When the water falls low enough, rabbits often seek shelter beneath the ice roofs.

Ice crystals created at the water’s surface are left behind to form intricate ice sculptures.

The angle of the sun’s rays during winter keeps part of the pond in constant shadow. Here the ice developed a frosty whiteness.

The ice crystals form many intricate designs. It’s a shame that ice like this can’t be preserved.

As a child, I imagined colonies of gnomes or elves busily creating these sculptures. This certainly looks to me like the beginning of some ice based machine works.

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