Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The South is strange to me for a lot of reasons. Why are people so friendly? Why can't I find a Jewish deli anywhere? Why is there only one Dunkin' Donuts within 500 miles of my house?

But, there's a strange phenomenon that my mother and I have noticed as we drive to town on cold mornings. At first, we thought there was garbage wrapped around the base of dead plants. But, it seemed improbable that the garbage would go on for miles. A couple of hours later, we drove home and saw that it was all gone.

Closer inspection several days later showed that these clusters were balls of very delicate ice that formed around the base of the dead plants. Here's my question: What the heck? I've Googled like crazy and can't find an explanation. So, I'm giving a $5 Starbucks gift card to the first person who can explain the science to me behind these ice balls.


Jo said...

Hi - love your blog - can't help you with the ice (live on another continent), but would love to know the answer.

Christmas Cheers

Tanya (In the Dailies) said...

Still looking for an answer? :)

I have seen ice in the woods before, but never "balls" of ice.

Does this happen after a night rain?

Here's my midwest-experienced attempt at a scientific answer: Rain collects on the branches above and dew collects on the long grass below. As the amounts of grow, they drip and fall. Because the ground below is overgrown, natural divots and valleys form which then collect all the fallen water. Because it is winter, these collections freeze forming ice balls. As you know, ice formations grow and take shape as more water falls upon it. These ice balls, in my humble opinion, are just ground icicles. Instead of being conical, like from the roof, these are round because of the nests of long grass around where they form.

Anonymous said...

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