By:
16-06-2016

Below Zero Breakers - The Phenomena Of Ice Waves Explained

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Ice wave phenomena

In march of this year, temperatures dropped to an unprecedented nineteen degrees in Nantucket, Massachusetts, New England. Surfer Jonathan Nimerfroh, was not put off by the freezing conditions as winds were high, so he decided to hit the coast with surfboard in hand with a view to riding the high waves. When he got to the shoreline he looked out about three hundred yards and saw something very unusual. The waves were two to three feet high but it was so cold they began to freeze in mid-air. The result was a suspended wave which had the appearance of a slush puppy drink standing in the middle of the ocean. Jonathan had to think on his feet and luckily for him he had brought a camera. He took several shots of the amazing anomaly and posted the photos in Instagram. He returned the following day to see if he could take some more but the strange frozen wave had melted. Locals claim they never saw anything like this before and they can't explain how it happened.

What causes ice waves to form

Sea water begins to freeze when small crystals called frazil begin to take shape. These unique crystals get rid of the salt present in the ocean, cleansing it and making it clean and pure in consistency.
Below zero breakers - the phenomena of ice waves explained
The frazil crystals then normally float to the surface and if there's choppy waves due to bad weather conditions, a big freeze can occur in the actual waves. The sheet ice begins to stick together forming an icy-glaze and these can turn into enormous layers of thin ice, that make the waves appear motionless. These ice-sculptors are rarely caught on camera and we're amazed by their majestic presence.
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