Would it help if I reminded you that Wednesday was the third of January ?
Where is the snow ?
Though there is snow in many areas of Nova Scotia; there is none in my area.
None at all. Zip. Zilch. Nadda.
That lack of snow reveals some things I hadn't noticed before. See the white patches in the photo below ?
Those patches represent what I call "blow holes"; the frozen breath of the critters dwelling within the holes.
Look at all the "blow holes" in the picture below. If this was a snowy day these holes would just blend in and you'd never notice them.
These fascinating breath holes are not the only thing that I noticed;
some of the well-worn trails are icy and suddenly rougher than usual.
Something is growing under the ground and pushing the earth up. What could do that ?
The answer is "needle ice" ! Needle ice forms when soil is saturated with water and the air is below freezing. Ice forms at or just below the soil surface, where water meets the colder air and freezes. As more water from the soil moves up toward the ice through a capillary or wicking action it freezes and expands. The ice is then pushed up out of the soil forming fragile columns of ice that poke out of the earth. Needle ice needs a certain balance of temperature, water and soil type to develop. The soil grains need to be porous enough to allow water to move up through them, but still tightly packed enough to retain water.
|Holding a big chunk of needle ice|
So we've seen "blow holes", needle ice and now for your viewing pleasure I present the amazing "dropping rocks" ...
Though it looks like these rocks are descending into the ground, things are not what they seem.
I finally found an understandable explanation* for these rocks that look like they've dropped down into the ground. In fact the stones have stayed still; the ground around them has moved upwards !
When the surface froze, ice columns formed beneath that frozen layer and lifted the entire mass as a single unit. Stones were unaffected and stayed in their original positions.
Sooooo, the stones didn't move DOWN -- the ground moved UP !
I am continually fascinated and thrilled by the world of nature.