Research

Enormous Ice Disk

We’ve seen spinning ice disks before, but this month Westbrook, Maine has developed the largest one I’ve ever seen. A research paper from 2016 indicates that this seemingly alien formation spins due to an oddity of water. Water is at its densest around 4 degrees Celsius, so as the ice of the disk melts in the warmer waters of the river, it sinks. That downward plume sets up a vortex in the water beneath the disk. And as the water spins, it drags the ice with it, causing the disk’s rotation. The warmer the water is, the faster the disk spins. (Image credit: T. Radel/City of Westbrook; research credit: S. Dorbolo et al.; via Gizmodo; submitted by jpshoer)

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