On a highland trek in the Scottish Highlands, a hiker photographed the exceedingly unusual phenomena of an ice disc.
David Brown, 32, of Dunoon, Scotland, was climbing up the "Munro," a Scots word for a peak above 3,000 feet in elevation, with his father when they came across the unusual sight.
“I was hiking Beinn Bhuidhe… with my father,” Brown recounts. Visibility wasn’t great, but after about an hour-and-a-half the snow stopped and cloud cover started to clear. We took a break to fill our water bottles from the burn by the track—that’s when we noticed the ice disk slowly spinning at the foot of a small waterfall.” (Quote by David Brown)
David and his father were both taken aback because they had never seen or experienced an ice disc in the flesh.
They form naturally as the temperature of the water in frozen places rises and the ice begins to melt. As warmer water rises to the surface, colder water sinks, forming the vortex that spins the ice. They are frequently observed in the Baltic Sea or the Great Lakes, according to Brown.
Ice disks, also known as ice circles, are circular sheets of ice that can form in slow-moving rivers or lakes. They are created when a portion of the river or lake surface begins to freeze and spins, pushed along by the current and shaped by the force of the water flow. The central portion of the disk remains unfrozen due to the movement of water, creating a vortex-like appearance. The size and speed of rotation of the ice disk can be influenced by factors such as water flow, temperature, and the presence of other objects in the water.
“We assumed at the time that it was caused by the flow of the waterfall meeting the current of the burn. We hadn’t encountered anyone else on the hike, it felt like we were the only people for miles around, so then to happen across something so serene and perfectly formed, it felt surreal.” (Quote by David Brown)
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