04 January 2007

Ice Circles


I saw this partially-frozen puddle in the parking lot and it sort of grabbed my attention. Does anyone have an explanation for these rings? Any theories?
I'm guessing it took a few days for the rings to develop, as the puddle froze overnight, then lost some water during the day(evaporation or ground absorption), then froze again overnight.


In any case, it's cool to look at...

6 comments:

Mark said...

Cool picture! I think your theory of melting/evaporation/refreezing sounds about right. But I would also suggest that road salt played a factor. Looks like the salt is not on the top of the puddle (got wiped away), but only on the bare road surface around the edges. You can see the outline of another ring that has since vanished, especially on the top right corner. As the salt contacts the edges of the ice, it preferentially melts them, even at temperatures where the center of the puddle remains frozen. The edges then melt off into the street, carrying with it the dissolved salt, so the next ring starts out wider.


Either that, or there are very small gnomes driving tiny zambonis around at night.

Deb said...

I bet on the gnomes ........:)

Dan said...

Gnomes! I should have guessed...

Mark said...

Yes, it's amazing how much science has taught us lately. Why, just a few years ago we would have thought this caused by evil spirits or demonic possesion. Now we know it is gnomes! Nothing a little bloodletting won't cure. (Steve Martin SNL sketch reference).

:)

Dick Field said...

No one beats Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber, as an impeccable source of modern scientific observation. For those old enough to know or care (like Marc), just see http://snltranscripts.jt.org/77/77rtheodoric.phtml
for all his many revelations.

Dan said...

Great link, Dick! Theodoric is a genius!