The mechanics of ice

06 February 2012 - Skating fever

klik hier voor de afbeelding op ware grootteIt is freezing cold in the Netherlands making the locals nervous for the Big One. The country has plenty of surface water that all frozen up, makes a very large temporary ice skating super highway. If only all the ditches, rivers, canals and lakes the country has would freeze up nice and predictably with a 15 cm pitch black ice sheet. Reality is stubborn. Right now the ice is riddled with wind holes thanks to of course prominent wind action. These wind holes take a lot longer to get to any decent thickness. To make matters worse all ice is currently coated in a layer of snow conveniently hiding the wind holes not to mention all the cracks.
This blog braved one of the frozen up canals this week that luckily had a stretch de-snowed. Most of it black ice but with patches of grey ice, just like in today's pic. But what exactly are the little mounds of snow doing there?
A very useful website is lakeice.squarespace.com, completely dedicated to skating and lake ice! The closest thing on this website that might describe this phenomenon are ice pores where pores through the ice allow water to surface and then sublime.