Bubbles in Lake Ice

February 13, 2011

Lake Ice 
Photographer: Steve Irvine
Summary Authors: Steve Irvine; Jim Foster

February 2011 Viewer's ChoiceThe photo above, showing air bubbles encased in a block of ice, was taken in Big Bay (Georgian Bay), Ontario, Canada on January 24, 2011. Bubbles such as these can display wonderfully evocative patterns. They also record the physics involved of air molecules dissolved in the water, coming out of solution and becoming a gas again, along the edges of long ice crystals, as they grow towards the center of the block of ice. The size of individual bubbles and their concentration is a function of the rate of freezing (as well as other factors). In general, the faster the freezing rate, the greater the number and the size of the bubbles.

Photo Details: Canon 50D camera; Canon EF-S 60 mm macro lens; ISO 100; f/32; 2.5-second exposure; LED light illumination.