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Mysterious Ice Circles
October 14, 2007 1:12 PM   Subscribe

Mysterious ice circles are large rotating ice disks on ice covered rivers or other bodies of water. Their origin and nature is controversial. Perhaps they are related to UFO's or something more prosaic, like pancake ice.
posted by Tube (35 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
C'mon, seriously, man? Pancake ice is a myth.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:15 PM on October 14, 2007


They need to get that Andy Goldsworthy in for questioning. I see his skilled hand in this.
posted by Abiezer at 1:21 PM on October 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


Myth? Perhaps you would like to tell that to the Proprietor of the Intergalactic House of Pancakes!
posted by prodigalsun at 1:24 PM on October 14, 2007


Cool links, thanks!
posted by amyms at 1:27 PM on October 14, 2007


All those circles are immediately up or downstrem of a constriction (low head dam, abutments, diversion dam). To me the most likely explanation is that the water is moving at different rates so that you get an eddy forming next to a swift-moving tongue. The eddy starts to freeze first and the faster moving water on the edged spins the floating ice as it forms so that you get a circle of thicker ice.

Just my guess but I imagine it would be easy enough to test it out.
posted by fshgrl at 1:28 PM on October 14, 2007


"It's from a USO. An Unidentified Skating Object."

Heh.
posted by cosmac at 1:36 PM on October 14, 2007


I blame Oolong.
posted by Kattullus at 1:37 PM on October 14, 2007


I blame Oolong.
posted by Kattullus at 3:37 PM on October 14


The tea?
posted by Ynoxas at 1:51 PM on October 14, 2007


Really, can people start placing [.pdf] notices in front of links to pdf files?
posted by KingoftheWhales at 1:51 PM on October 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


fshgrl All those circles are immediately up or downstrem of a constriction (low head dam, abutments, diversion dam). To me the most likely explanation is that the water is moving at different rates so that you get an eddy forming next to a swift-moving tongue. The eddy starts to freeze first and the faster moving water on the edged spins the floating ice as it forms so that you get a circle of thicker ice.

What about a destructive rather than creative process, ie start with an irregular-shaped plate of ice, let it get somewhere in the body of water such that it gets a spin on it, and where its edge is rubbed against a source of heat and/or abrasion? Could this naturally form a circle?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:57 PM on October 14, 2007


Wait, they claim that UFOs made these? People are so crazy.
posted by KingoftheWhales at 1:58 PM on October 14, 2007


Ynoxas: The tea?

Kattallus refers to the late, great Oolong.
posted by PsychoKick at 2:13 PM on October 14, 2007


What about a destructive rather than creative process, ie start with an irregular-shaped plate of ice, let it get somewhere in the body of water such that it gets a spin on it, and where its edge is rubbed against a source of heat and/or abrasion? Could this naturally form a circle?

Don't see why not. You'd have to have a perfect eddy for it, of course.
posted by fshgrl at 2:23 PM on October 14, 2007


KingoftheWhales: it's the UFOs that are scary man. I'm buying stock in tin foil.
posted by nax at 2:25 PM on October 14, 2007


Nice link. Thanks.
posted by wfc123 at 2:40 PM on October 14, 2007


I'm pretty sure that these are made by the same folks who brought us Snow Donuts.
posted by brevator at 3:02 PM on October 14, 2007


Also, the ancient Egyptians had Helicopters.
posted by knave at 3:08 PM on October 14, 2007


Aliens are making ice circles!

Man, aliens are bored.
posted by blacklite at 3:22 PM on October 14, 2007 [5 favorites]


The eddy starts to freeze first and the faster moving water on the edged spins the floating ice as it forms so that you get a circle of thicker ice.

But...but...eddy's in the space-time continuum, so how could he be in the river, too?
posted by googly at 4:26 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think these ice circles are from the same people who brought us crop circles. I don't think they have a natural origin.
posted by wsg at 4:53 PM on October 14, 2007


Mars Needs Ginnan Tonic!
posted by rob511 at 5:09 PM on October 14, 2007


Here's your proof: The ratio of the diameter of the ice circles to their diameter is ***in every case*** PRECISELY the same as the ratio of the Earth's diameter to its circumference. That's scientifical proof!!!11!!ONEZ11
posted by pjern at 5:29 PM on October 14, 2007



mods, this is why we need an edit feature on own posts.
posted by pjern at 5:31 PM on October 14, 2007


As more and more floes accumulated, the disc grew. Friction with the surrounding river ice rounded off the edges until it was nearly a perfect circle

Cool, I've never heard of that. Ice can do weird things. I once saw towers of ice rising out of a river, four feet high. Sort of like these ice spikes, only large and gnarly, not at all regular in shape.
posted by sfenders at 6:05 PM on October 14, 2007


I'm wondering if it would be possible to indicate when you link to a pdf, especially when it is the first link in your post. As well, it's sometimes confusing and annoying when every word in a sentence links to something different. I realize there may be too schools of thought on this one, but, still...

Not a big deal - nothing I would start a MetaTalk post on. Otherwise, nice post.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:20 PM on October 14, 2007


Doesn't anyone look down at the url of the link before they click on it?

You really should. It will prevent you from inadvertently opening up a (God forbid) .pdf file, or something equally dastardly.

Cool post!

No ... COLD post. ICE cold!
posted by yhbc at 6:45 PM on October 14, 2007


Cool links, and a new paranormal phenomenon for me to obsess over! Thanks, Metafilter!
posted by zardoz at 7:19 PM on October 14, 2007


What's alarming is that some people out there don't understand that a rotating plate will, with ablation, perfectly cicularize itself. Have they never seen a potter's wheel or a lathe?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:28 PM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


mods, this is why we need an edit feature on own posts.

Classic.
posted by odinsdream at 8:47 PM on October 14, 2007


i spend a lot of time looking at ice in the winter. this is something i really really want to see. (and i hadn't seen the donuts link!)
posted by RedEmma at 9:12 PM on October 14, 2007


Really, can people start placing [.pdf] notices in front of links to pdf files?
posted by KingoftheWhales at 3:51 PM on October 14


First, why would it matter that it is a .pdf? Aren't PDFs well-rendered on all platforms?

Second, if this sort of thing matters to you, why not mouse-over the link to see the URL? Takes 0.5 seconds, and would (apparently) save you some sort of heartache.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:07 PM on October 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


i'm annoyed when people blind link pdfs because pdf's stop your web browsing cold while you load up the shitty adobe reader, or in the case of firefox on mac, I get a pop up asking me if i want to load it in preview or not. Either way, it's annoying
posted by empath at 10:24 PM on October 14, 2007


Askme
posted by hortense at 11:14 PM on October 14, 2007


Windows people annoyed by the sloth of Adobe Reader need to uninstall it and get Foxit Reader instead. Mac people annoyed by preview popups need to learn Ynoxas's top-secret web-ninja link-mouseover technique.
posted by flabdablet at 7:51 PM on October 15, 2007


I get a pop up asking me if i want to load it in preview or not.

Check the box that says "always do this". In the future when you want to save a pdf, ctrl-click.
posted by blacklite at 11:40 PM on October 15, 2007


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