Lake Stars

Lake stars form on a slush-covered frozen lake.

As snow-covered frozen lakes melt, stars appear on their surface. These lake stars form around holes in the ice where (relatively) warm water seeps up into the slush layer. The stars form through a competition between thermal effects and flow through the porous snow. Researchers have built mathematical models that capture the first-order effects, like predicting the number of arms a star will form. (Image and research credit: V. Tsai and J. Wettlaufer; submitted by keeonn)

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