Oddly Shaped Indentations in Snow

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In summary, the speakers noticed odd shaped indentations on a step outside their house during a snowfall. They ruled out animal causes and speculated that icicles might have fallen and melted, but the distinct edges make this unlikely. They also considered the possibility of slush falling off the eaves, which could explain the lack of icicles. One person suggested that the indentations may have been caused by a long piece of ice breaking and creating a zig zag pattern, while another mentioned the possibility of heating underneath the steps.
  • #1
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Hi-
We found these odd shaped indentations on a step outside the house during the last snowfall (we live in south eastern Ohio). There are no tracks leading up to them to indicate an animal cause. The only explanation we've been able to come up with is icicles that fell and melted, but the edges are so distinct that even seems unlikely. There was nothing on the step prior to the snowfall (i.e. solid object, salt, etc)

Any ideas?
 

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  • #2
It does look like a long piece of ice fell off and broke making the zig zag pattern. The speckles are quite common, I get that effect all of the time from dripping icicles.
 
  • #3
Maybe there is heating underneath the steps?
 
  • #4
Just slush falling off the eaves...that's why there are no icicles.
 
  • #5
turbo-1 said:
Just slush falling off the eaves...that's why there are no icicles.

I agree. The total leingth of indentation sections is approximately the length of the step.
 
  • #6
This also reminds me of chunks of wet snow falling off of overhead power lines.
 

1. What causes oddly shaped indentations in snow?

Oddly shaped indentations in snow can be caused by a variety of factors, such as wind, animals, or human activity. Wind can create unique patterns in the snow, while animals like deer or rabbits may leave hoof or paw prints. Human activity, such as walking or skiing, can also leave distinctive marks in the snow.

2. Can weather conditions affect the shape of indentations in snow?

Yes, weather conditions can definitely impact the shape of indentations in snow. For example, strong winds can create deeper or more pronounced indentations, while warmer temperatures can cause the snow to melt and change the shape of previously formed indentations.

3. Are there any natural processes that can create oddly shaped indentations in snow?

Yes, there are several natural processes that can create oddly shaped indentations in snow. One example is the process of snow melting and refreezing, which can create unique shapes and patterns. Another is the movement of water under the snow, which can also create distinctive indentations.

4. How can scientists study and analyze oddly shaped indentations in snow?

Scientists can study and analyze oddly shaped indentations in snow through a variety of methods, such as taking measurements and photographs, conducting experiments, and using remote sensing techniques. They can also compare and analyze data over time to track changes in the indentations.

5. What can we learn from studying oddly shaped indentations in snow?

Studying oddly shaped indentations in snow can provide valuable information about the environment and the processes that shape it. It can also help us understand the effects of weather and climate on the landscape, as well as the impact of human activity on natural systems. Additionally, studying these indentations can provide insights into animal behavior and movement patterns.

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