Abstract Ice Pattern on Pond

February 03, 2020

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Photographer: Ron Ciminero 
Summary Authors: Ron Ciminero; Jim Foster

Shown above is an odd ice pattern I observed on a pond in Miami Whitewater Forest, Hamilton County Ohio. It’s accented by alone oak leaf. For several days before this photo was taken, the air temperature oscillated between below and above freezing. It seems that this freeze-thaw cycle along with vigorous breezes that occurred overnight helped create the abstract ice pattern.

However, patterns such as this have no easy explanations. Ice typically doesn’t freeze evenly, so the rate of cooling likely plays some role. Also, thin ice on shallow ponds readily develops small fractures, encouraging water to spread and or flow upwards (due to hydrostatic pressure and capillary action) into the tiny cracks before it freezes, resulting in all sorts of peculiar patterns. Photo taken on December 21, 2019.

Photo Details: Camera: NIKON Z 6; Software: Darktable 2.6.2 (Linux Mint 19.3); Exposure Time: 0.017s 1/60); Aperture: ƒ/8.0; ISO equivalent: 100; Focal Length (35mm): 70; Lens: NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S.