Saturday, January 11, 2014

Frost Beards

Several years ago, Wayne and I discovered an unusual phenomenon while on a quad ride. It's called frost beard or flowers. In our area, it's most often seen on fallen alder trees and branches.

The frost formations occur in freezing weather before the ground is frozen. Moisture trapped under the bark or rising in the stem expands, causing long, thin cracks to form.


Water is then drawn through these cracks and freezes. As the process continues, it pushes thin ice strands further from the stem, causing the beard or flower appearance to form. Here's an interesting video by Chris Karrow on YouTube of how frost flowers and beards are formed. Have you ever seen a frost beard or flower? -- Margy

11 comments:

  1. I never have, but that's fascinating. I didn't even know that sort of thing existed. I wish the YouTube had been longer!

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  2. This frost beard is beautiful I have lived here most of my life and never seen it. Thank you for sharing it.

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  3. Fascinating, I've never heard of this before. Great to learn something new, thank you :)

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  4. I haven't seen that on a tree before - but one time on a patch of dug up earth of a mole hill there was a large twig - how it got there I do not know, but the frost formed and blossomed - I got many photos of it and my 3 year old grandson had the pleasure of stomping it out, as the temperatures were rising and it was beginning to sag. He had as much fun looking at the frost as he did stomping it, so it was ok.

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  5. Wow! That explains it as I have seen this before and wondered how it was done.

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  6. I haven't seen anything like that since I was quite young, about 40 years ago. Not very happy for the tree, but a beautiful, beautiful photo subject.
    K

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  7. These are amazing, I haven't seen them around here. Nature is absolutely amazing, little surprises just around the corner when you least expect it. I wonder what kind of trees those are, perhaps we don't see ice beards/flowers because we don't have the same trees...

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  8. Fascinating. If it stops raining I wil walk through the back forty and look out for some.

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  9. That's really cool!
    (ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

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  10. Wow, Polar Votex AND frost beards in one week -2 new terms for me.

    Hey Margy!

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  11. That's fascinating, never seen it. Beautiful pix too.

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