Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Strange ice formation

  1. Nov 19, 2008 #1
    Hi everyone!

    My first post, so bear with me. I have a query that I didn't quite know who to ask about, and came across this site, so I hope this is the right place to put it.

    My cat's bowl was left (empty) on the verandah and got caught in the rain yesterday afternoon. Overnight temperatures dropped to below freezing, but not much: I would guess to about -2 C, as it was just below -1 when I got up at seven o'clock. When daylight broke (and I could see the bowl) I noticed a strange sundial-shaped ice formation, and this is what has me flummoxed. I was so baffled that I took it in and stuck it in the freezer so I would have time to take some pictures.

    What on earth could have caused it? I have pondered this all day... a hair? ...a spider web? I cannot see anything inside the spike: it looks as if something jumped in or out of the water as it was freezing, but am well enough informed to realise that it would have to be a lot colder for that to happen, if it would be at all possible.

    Since I am new to this I hope my attached pictures will upload properly, if they don't I will try again.

    I am grateful for any insights.

    Bye for now!

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 19, 2008 #2
    I can't make any sense of it either. I suspect, like you, that "something" had to have been attached to the bowl at that angle to allow such a formation to build-up. At least that's my take on it. I would not have thought of a spider web had you not brought it up, but that ssems a reasonable candidate. Hmmm... just don't know.
  4. Nov 19, 2008 #3
  5. Nov 19, 2008 #4
    That's a great link mender. I read it and it now makes sense. Nice job.
  6. Nov 19, 2008 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Good catch, Mender.
    Rainwater is essentially distilled, so it makes sense.
  7. Nov 19, 2008 #6
    Hello there, pallidin and mender!

    Thank you so much both of you for responding to my query; I am grateful and feel I can sleep tonight without thinking about this any more...

    And, mender, a special thanks for giving us the link with the pictures - they certainly look precisely like what I had in the bowl!

    Bye for now!
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Strange ice formation
  1. Ice crystal formation (Replies: 1)