Winter has come, finally, although not the traditional kind. There isn’t much snow and it hasn’t been all that cold. However, ice has formed on the lake and people are ice fishing, snowmobiling, ice boating and just walking around on the lake. As you wander around the lake, there are ice formations that are pretty neat and ice formations that make you be careful.
When ice forms it expands, that is physics. Once it is frozen, it then behaves like a solid and when the temperature rises it expands a bit and when the temperature falls, the ice contracts a bit. As a percent, it is not huge but when you deal with a mile of ice, a small percent change can cause some interesting effects. Cracks occur (with wonderful noise when the ice is more than a couple of inches thick) and the ice moves on a daily basis. This year, it seems, the motions have been larger because there has been little snow. This means that the ice has not been insulated as it is many winters meaning that the temperature rises and falls more quickly.
Some of the ice cracks fill with water to form interesting patterns. At other places on the lake the cracks don’t seem to refreeze, leaving open water. In very cold winters these areas do freeze but this has not been a very cold winter. As you walk around the lake or ice boat or do whatever, you have to be aware of these areas of open water. The pictures that you see were taken on February 18th. Now, there is an inch or so of snow on the ice from our last “big” storm.