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Thread: Needle Ice

  1. #1
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    Default Needle Ice

    How common is it to see ice needles on the AT. My bother and I were in SNP this morning hiking from Skyland to Thornton Gap and encountered it in several places about 8:30am. it had rained over night and air temps dropped to 30F this morning.

    It was my first time seeing ice needles.

  2. #2

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    The AT is a lot of places.
    Needle ice occurs in a lot of places.

    Those muddy looking spots that crunch underfoot...that can be needle ice, too(or just frozen mud!). Something to do with water in the soil moving toward, and adding to, ice on the surface for whatever reason. I've read about it before, and think there were several contributing factors, like ground temp, soil type or whatever. Pretty neat, but it wasn't THAT interesting.
    Ask Google. Google knows everything

  3. #3

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    It's a pretty common phenomenon from what I've seen over the years. Typically this will occur when the soil temperature is above freezing and the air temperature is below freezing, water in/under the soil migrates to the surface in a capillary action and freezes. As more water draws out of the soil the needles get longer. Sometimes the sculptures made by this phenomenon are very complex and photogenic.

  4. #4

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    I see it fairly often around here.

  5. #5

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    it's nice to find the ice form at the base of plant stems



  6. #6

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    I've never heard of or seen this before. Neat to learn it exists.

  7. #7

  8. #8
    Registered User Turtle-2013's Avatar
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    Regular occurrence here in the winter ... often I have to walk through yards of it to get to take care of the chickens. We have particular places it happens, while most of the ground is just frozen.

  9. #9
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    I usually see it in the fall when the nights start dipping below freezing. It usually turns to mud once it warms enough to thaw later in the morning.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by zelph View Post
    it's nice to find the ice form at the base of plant stems
    Friend of mine in the NC mountains put this up yesterday, and I thought of your post here when I saw it.
    I don't know that it's "needle ice", but it's pretty cool.
    FB_IMG_1572849270591.jpg

  11. #11

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    I didn't know what it was called (until just now), but I have seen it several times in the southern portion of the AT.

  12. #12
    Registered User Hikes in Rain's Avatar
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    Found this between Newfound Gap and Fontana, several Novembers ago.
    IM000031.JPG

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by OwenM View Post
    Friend of mine in the NC mountains put this up yesterday, and I thought of your post here when I saw it.
    I don't know that it's "needle ice", but it's pretty cool.
    FB_IMG_1572849270591.jpg
    That looks like a dandelion seed, or some similar seed with “parachute” hairs to be spread by the wind.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by OwenM View Post
    Friend of mine in the NC mountains put this up yesterday, and I thought of your post here when I saw it.
    I don't know that it's "needle ice", but it's pretty cool.
    FB_IMG_1572849270591.jpg
    It is cool looking. Looks like milkweed seeds with it's fluff.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by zelph View Post
    It is cool looking. Looks like milkweed seeds with it's fluff.
    Agreed


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  16. #16

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    It's a pretty common phenomenon from what I've seen over the years. Typically this will occur when the soil temperature is above freezing and the air temperature is below freezing, water in/under the soil migrates to the surface in a capillary action and freezes. As more water draws out of the soil the needles get longer. Sometimes the sculptures made by this phenomenon are very complex and photogenic.
    Very cool, thanks!
    "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change". Charles Darwin

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by zelph View Post
    It is cool looking. Looks like milkweed seeds with it's fluff.
    Yes. I just assumed that was frost around the bottom, because he was commenting on the low temps. Maybe he just meant the seed pods opening was a sign of the season.
    But it looks frosty!

  19. #19

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    The needle ice I see is in the ground and looks vaguely like ribbon candy. It crunches when I step on it.

  20. #20
    Registered User methodman's Avatar
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    Default Needle Ice

    Frost heaving.

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