Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Ice spike

Last Saturday afternoon, I noticed there was an ice spike in the outdoor water dish.  Ice spikes are interesting phenomena.  They form when a water surface is freezing.  If the surface in a dish, for example, freezes all the way to the edge except for a hole, the water underneath can expand as it freezes and be forced through the hole.  As the water is forced through the hole, it freezes and forms a spike (or tower or vase shape) It is most likely to happen with pure water such as rainwater and at temperatures between 15 and 25 degrees.  There was, in fact, rainwater in the water dish (although there is some debris in the bottom of the dish), and the temperature that night was in the 20's.


Have you ever seen an ice spike and wondered what caused it?  Now you know.


  1. I've never seen one of those. I have no idea what causes that little trick.

    1. I think I've actually seen a tiny one in the ice tray before.
      As I looked around on the internet at pictures of them, I found some people were using distilled water and putting it in trays outside to see what ice spikes might form.
      If the groundhog was telling there truth there shouldn't be too many more nights cold enough for the formation of ice spikes this season.

  2. YOu continually come up with something that puts a new wrinkle in my horn. I never noticed this phenomenon before and I might have and didn't' know it, assumed that a piece of Ice had fallen into the water. Neat stuff.

    Headed for Durham to see the Dr(S)