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No. 102: Nov-Dec 1995

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Sketch of the upwardly-growing refrigerator icicle
Sketch of the upwardly-growing refrigerator icicle.
Birdbaths, it seems, are not essential for the generation of tilted, upwardly growing, crystalline icicles. From St. Louis, C. Masthay writes:

"In Science Frontiers 100, p. 2, Jul.-Aug. 1995, you have the article WEIRD ICICLES. Well I've just got to tell you about the icicle in my icecube tray. I went to Connecticut on vacation for 2 weeks the latter half of this June (1995). Sometime during that time the electricity was out for 3½ hours. When I opened my refrigerator for a drink, there was a weird stalagmitic icicle with a faint frostiness on the cystalline end. I left it alone for these 2 weeks to watch it recede with my frostfree refrigerator. When I saw your article, I regarded the explanation of a central channel as being inappropriate, for this one had to grow as a normal crystal in the unaccustomed rise in temperature. It too had a tipped angle of perhaps 10° to 15°. What is more is that this is the second time this has happened in a year. How many other refrigerators have done the same? Thus the birdbath crystal is not impossible."

(Masthay, Carl; personal communication, July 17, 1995.)

Questions. Why are all of these upwardgrowing icicles inclined slightly? Why are they all prismatic in contrast to those hanging from our eaves?

From Science Frontiers #102 Nov-Dec 1995. 1995-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987