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Beautiful ‘silk frost’ fibrous ice formations

Beautiful ‘silk frost’ fibrous ice formations

Dr. James Carter is a professor in the Department of Geography-Geology at the University of Illinois. One of his many interesting pages collects photos and other reports (dating back to 1884) of so-called “hair ice,” “haareis,” or (my fav) “silk frost.” The fibrous ice crystals seem to be caused by the pore structure of certain woods, and only forms where the bark has been removed. Reportedly, the phenomenon is reproducible: if you find a piece of wood growing hair ice, you can warm it up, then re-freeze it, and it will grow hair ice again. [via Neatorama]

12 thoughts on “Beautiful ‘silk frost’ fibrous ice formations

  1. John. S says:

    This seems like something the environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy would make.

  2. Adam says:

    Looks like he’s actually a prof at ISU, not the U of I.

  3. SteveC says:

    Looks like what we always called “hoar frost” although, looking on wikipedia, this does not appear to be correct. However, I think there are a lot of people in Arkansas who would call this kind of frost “hoar frost”

  4. Dirk says:


    Maybe you had some Germans there. “Hoar” is very similar to “Haar” which is German for “hair” ans sounds like “hoar” in some dialects.

  5. yum yum says:

    I wonder if someone could flavour the wood and refreeze it for a tasty dessert.

  6. Goli Mohammadi says:

    Wow! That looks amazing. I’ve seen a lot of ice in nature and nothing that resembles this.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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