Gravity Driven Snow Roller

April 17, 2007

Snowrollers copy

Provided and copyright by: Steve Kluge, Fox Lane High School
Summary authors & editors: Steve Kluge

These fascinating, gravity driven snow rollers, quickly caught my attention. The above photo was taken in the gorge of Taughannock Creek in central New York State, on February 24, 2007. Just below Taughannock Falls, the gorge cuts 100m down through the Ithaca, Sherburne, and Geneseo geological formations. The more resistant Ithaca and Sherburne formations form nearly vertical cliffs above the less resistant and a little more gently sloping Geneseo Shale at the bottom of the gorge. After an unusually warm and snow free January, the "Valentine's Day" snowstorm finally delivered the first significant snow of the winter to the region, and these rollers formed not long afterwards. Unlike the round snowballs that roll down hills in cartoons, these were more like coiled strips of snow, and in cross section reminded me of the cinnamon rolls my daughter had made for us that morning.

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