Frozen Ripples

Wind-driven ripples frozen on a bird bath.

Normally, freezing is a slow enough process that transient phenomena like ripples get smoothed out. But with the right conditions, even ripples can get frozen in time. This picture shows a backyard bird bath after a frigid winter storm passed overnight. For much of that time, the wind was active enough to keep the bath’s water from freezing. But when freezing did start, it happened so rapidly that the wavelets generated by the wind got frozen in place, too. Here’s a similar-looking effect (also in Colorado, ironically) that’s thought to have formed entirely differently. (Image credit: K. Farrell; via EPOD; submitted by Kam-Yung Soh)

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