Monday, January 28, 2013

From slush to ice.

On the same walk where I got the marvellous shots of the frozen, slushy waves, I found something else that I wanted to share with you.  Here in this pond behind the beach: do you see them ?


This brackish pond just above the tide line was frozen solid.   No, no, I know you've seen frozen water before.  It's not the ice I want to show you:  it's what's in the ice.

Without realizing it, Trey is pointing them out to you.   Can you see them ?


There in the ice was something that amazed me enough to go back home to get fresh batteries for my "dead" camera, and come back out in the bitter cold.   There in the ice was something I'd never seen before.

Gingerly I folded myself down and lay on the glassy surface, and pointed my inadequate camera downwards.

And this is what I saw ...


BUBBLES !


Stacks and stack of  bubbles.


Stacks of flat bubbles.

Isn't that the coolest thing ?

What on earth caused these frozen, flat bubbles ?   I checked with Mr. Google and he sent me to New Scientist's Question and Answer science page, where I found this explanation:

"In ponds and lakes, the biological activity of microbes in the sediments on the lake floor produces bubbles of gas, usually methane or carbon dioxide.  In winter this activity is slow, but it is still present.

The gas bubbles rise to the frozen surface, becoming trapped there.  The following night another layer of ice forms beneath the bubble, so it is encased in ice.  This leads to the flattened shape you see.  The picture is a frozen daily record of the gas emissions."

Now to add to the fun:

"...If you'd like to find out if it is methane that is trapped inside the bubbles; make a tiny hole in the ice directly to the trapped gas inside the bubble and light it.  If it's methane, you'll see a flame ..."


Got a match ? 

20 comments:

  1. Fantastic! I have never noticed this before. You have sharp eyes, or rather Trey does. Thanks for the pictures and the information. Great!

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    1. Thanks Bonnie. I have wild ADD so I'm always noticing things when my attention should be elsewhere ... lol

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  2. Amazing! What a wonderful observation Sybs. AND you went back to get batteries. These are great shots!

    Vicky

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  4. Wow. This is awesome! I've never seen or heard anything like this. I love how you went right home with a mission to learn something, and then to share your new knowledge with us. Great imgages.

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    1. Thanks so much. I get quite curious about things and thanks to the internet, I just have to Google "flat bubble ice" and search images and "Poof!", I've got my answer.

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  5. Good heaven, how fantastic! What a find that was, and your inadequate camera did a wonderful job of capturing the bubbles that you and Trey found. But you LAYED on the ice? I hope you didn't freeze! Joanne :)

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    1. Joanne, I was wearing many layers and the actual act of lying on the ice wasn't the problem: getting us again was. ;-)

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  6. This is really fantastic, Sybil! (Are you tired of hearing that?) My mouth opened spontaneously and gasped, "OH!" You are a sleuth and a scientist and an explorer and a pioneer to have discovered this and photographed it for us. Positively stunning. Have you told Amy-Lynn?

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    1. Amy-Lynn knows fer sure. I found more info on it ... http://www.popsci.com/environment/article/2009-02/big-thaw-0?page=3

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  7. That's really cool! Did you get a chance to go back with a match?

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  8. Gosh, Sybs. This is amazing and beautiful. Your curiosity really inspires me :)
    xo j.

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  9. A friend sent me this link. If the whole idea was not so disheartening, the bubbles would be beautiful.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/01/30/170661670/pale-blue-blobs-invade-freeze-then-vanish

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    1. I'd seen this video of the methane gas on fire Les. It is amazing though.

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