Ice Floe Movment on a Lake

1. Mar 3, 2013

A.T.

Here is a video of a large ice floe (~70x140m) moving visibly back and forth within a ~30cm range at ~1cm/s. The floe covers only half of the lake, but that almost completely, except a ~1m wide strip at the shore. At the end of the movie the camera pans to show the size of the floe.

What causes this movement? The ice is melting and probably quite thin. But still, the floe must weight tons. I think it can only move, when the water moves too. Is there some slow wave mechanics caused by wind pressure on the ice?

2. Mar 3, 2013

Bobbywhy

I find it difficult to discern periodic motion of that ice floe from the video. There seems to be no fixed reference to use. How have the figures “~30 cm range at a ~1m wide strip” been arrived at? Which azimuthal direction is that movement in? Where in the image was this measurement made? How was the camera mounted? Was it fixed, or hand-held? At what altitude was it filming from? The zoom out process seemed unsteady so that this viewer had no idea of the eye height above the ice floe without any size reference. What is the depth of the lake? Which direction was the wind from?

Assuming that there was a periodic motion as you describe then I think that your proposed cause is plausible: wind-driven oscillation that includes water wave motion.

Cheers, Bobbywhy

3. Mar 4, 2013

runningninja

Would the restoring force then be the force of the water on the floe? How would that create simple harmonic motion?

4. Mar 4, 2013

A.T.

You see the bottom of the lake, or rather a wooden coast line wall, that is just under the water line.
It might be less in this clip, but it varied. The wooden square pole you see under water is about 7x7cm.
I wonder if the entire floe is moving like that, or just deforming on the waves.

Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
5. Mar 4, 2013

davenn

yup the movement is pretty obvious :)

at the end of the video it showed that the sun was shining.
I wonder what time of the day it was... early ?

I was just thinking that maybe as the sun is rising up over the ice covered lake if there is expansion and contraction occurring in different areas causing the movement ??

Thats assuming a calm windless day. If there was any hint of wind/breeze, then there's another cause of your observed effect :)

Dave

PS .... i love things like this ... Some one notices something that a zillion people may have walked past and not noticed something so subtle as that ... well done on a nice observation :)

Last edited: Mar 4, 2013