Antarctic Thesaurus


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ice berg  ice cap  ice cave  ice core  ice flowing  ice forming  icescape  indescribable

ice forming

The sea is starting to freeze at -2F, and a much thicker crust is all over the bay - thin large waterlily leaves of ice.

Jack Ward, Radio operator with the Australian Antarctic Division, Mawson, 2nd March 1955


OK, the water's going like this, in liquid form (hands fluidly move around close together), like the water molecules do. And then when it freezes, it locks up (hands move further apart from each other and stop), leaving more space between each molecule.

Cameron Smith
Sydney 2007



I guess from my Science background, I would like the process to be seen to be starting from the surface of the liquid in conformity with the facts. The density of pure water peaks at 4degC, so as a pool cools below that, all convection ceases, leaving further cooling to take place from the surface exposed to the air, and that's why ice forms from the top - which is just as well for all aquatic life forms!

A trickier thing to envisage is the metamorphosis of snow to ice in Antarctica. I simply do not know the science of this. But it would make for beautiful animation as each snow crystal starts out different, and the ultimate ice block is an amorphous mass, giving off that magical blue-green hue from the passage of sunlight. I suspect the slight colour changes are related to the degree of compression, and of course the whole process is integral in our mapping of climate change, since it's the ancient air bubbles trapped in the ice which allow us to chart Gaia's atmosphere going back millions of years.

Bill Burch
Sydney, 29 November 2007