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No. 136: JUL-AUG 2001

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An Ice Ring In A Canadian Pond

Ice rings (really ice "discs") are large circular discs of ice that occasionally form in rivers. One well-observed ice ring appeared in the Pite River in northern Sweden in 1987, About 100 feet in diameter, it was rotating slowly within a slightly larger hole in the ice covering the rest of the river. (SF#112) This ring was fashioned out of ice floes that had been captured by a whirlpool and set spinning. Its rough periphery had been "machined" to circular perfection over a period of weeks as it rotated ponderously within the confining river ice.

A curious phenomenon is this, but one that seems to yield to simple explanation rather easily.

Somewhat more puzzling is a 16-foot ice ring that formed overnight in the more placid waters of a farm pond near Delta, Ontario, in December 2000. The ice was too thin to walk upon, so it had to be a natural phenomenon. However, there was no whirlpool to provide the lathe-like action needed to create the neat disc. Nor was the disc said to be rotating when discovered. The whole event happened very quickly, too.

(Bronskill, Jim; "Strange Ice Rings Baffle Researchers," Toronto National Post, March 8, 2001. Cr. G. Duplantier via L. Farish.)

Comment. Even small farm ponds have some circulation of water, particularly if fed by a stream. Rather than trying to associate ice rings with crop circles, as some do, it would be better to find out what's happening below the ice!

From Science Frontiers #136, JUL-AUG 2001. 2001 William R. Corliss

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