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FEATURE ARTICLE

Flowers and Ribbons of Ice

Beautiful, gravity-defying structures can form when water freezes under the right conditions

James R. Carter

2013-09CarterF1.jpgClick to Enlarge ImageWhen conditions are just right, ice can do remarkable things. Many a hiker in colder climes has been treated with an early-morning view of a field of “ice flowers," created when the air is colder than the ground and ice is pushed out from plant stems in folded sheets. Ice can also extrude from small holes in pipes into long, curly ribbons. The author discusses the history behind the study of this phenomenon, as well as some of his own experiments reproducing the structures.


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