Ice flowers are called figures with sharp "petals", consisting of crystals of water, often saturated with salt. In shape, they resemble white inflorescences, the height of which rarely exceeds 10 cm.
Until recently, there were two explanations for the phenomenon. According to the first, it is formed like frost: from water droplets floating in the air. Under the influence of low temperatures, the liquid crystallizes, settling on the ice crust in the form of bizarre figures. According to the second, these are crystals of salt emerging from sea water, seeping through pores in the ice.
The Real Cause of Ice Blossom
For every phenomenon, there is a person who wants to unravel it. In the case of ice crystals, it was puzzled by two researchers at the Institute for Theoretical Geophysics at the University of Cambridge. Studies have shown that flowers appear when the air temperature drops below -20 ° -22 ° C, and the water does not have time to cool down by less than 0 ° C.
The presence of salt is not the main condition: the figures sometimes appear even on the surface of freshwater reservoirs and have been seen more than once in the Moscow and Tula regions. For example, Lake Bolshaya Gorodnya, located in the Serpukhov region, is covered with exactly the same decorations at sunset.
Arctic flowers appear only when there is no wind at all and only on a thin ice crust. With increasing ice thickness, they quickly disappear. The speed of their germination is amazing: in a matter of seconds, the petals reach several centimeters.