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IceThe Beauty of Ice

In south Texas ice is ice.....well in the polar regions there are different terms describing different stages or phenomenon in or among ice formations. Take for instance polynya (sounds like an Italian dish) is a large open area among the ice and smaller opening are called leads.

PolynaPolynya look similar to the openings in the ice to the right and left, but these structures form in the winter..

Icy Terms

Below are some terms dealing with ice formations. We are traveling into the ice and encountering ice that has melted and/or broken off. Ice formation in this area begins in September.

Frazil - ice crystals formed (slushy in consistency) in turbulent water. (Frazil ice can occur in Yosemite Creek in March and/ or April where the frozen mist from the waterfalls drops into the creek creating a giant slurpee.)

Grease - when frazil clumps together in a thin soup like layer on the surface and it resembles an oil slick.

Pancakes - ice pieces the size of dinner plates to larger than a car

Ice cakes - pancakes that join together

Floe - when the ice cake becomes larger and its former round shape changes

FloeThis chunk of ice is called a floe.

Rafting - floes that get pushed up on to one another

raftingRafting

Pressure ridges - a ridge that forms when pancakes, ice cakes, or floes are pushed up against one another. Some ridges have been reported to be 3 stories high.

Mini Iceberg

Only 10 percent of an iceberg is above the water surface.

Mini IcebergMini Iceberg