Winter’s Weird, Frosty Fingers

February 01, 2013

Ogriv91_16jan13

Photographer: Ray Boren
Summary Author: Ray Boren

Eerie, alien-looking hands and fingers seem to be reaching out from layers of snow and ice above the Ogden River, east of Huntsville, Utah, on chilly January 16, 2013. The frigid digits in turn appear to be supernaturally turning the stream’s surface to ice! Is it any wonder that tales of frost giants sent shivers down Viking spines, or that modern writers have come up with equally ominous creatures dwelling in the Earth’s frozen regions – monsters like H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu or John W. Campbell’s Thing from another world?

Less fanciful scientists tell us icicles grow in below-freezing temperatures as melt-water flows downward, be it from a roof, a cliff or a shelf of snow. An icicle is generally warmer than its surroundings. Small-scale convective heating causes nearby air to rise. The lifting air removes heat from the chilled water trickling down the icy column, so some of that water freezes. As a result, the icicle thickens and elongates –- in this case reaching down to the water below for an even stranger contact effect. Photo taken on January 16, 2013.

Photo details: Camera Model: NIKON D60; Focal Length: 220.0mm; Aperture: f/10.0; Exposure Time: 0.0050 s (1/200); ISO equiv: 200; Software: QuickTime 7.6.4.