Monday, February 14, 2011

Yosemite's Frazil Ice

There is a fascinating phenomenon that can be seen in Yosemite creek in late winter or early spring; it is called "frazil ice".
Our recent visit was too early to see anything but a hint of what it may be like later in the year.  It has its genesis in the build up of ice that forms along side the falls during the chilly nights.
When the sun hits the cliff the ice falls off and into the creek.  You can glimpse a bit of it flowing here in the creek.  It's not the ice clinging to the rocks but the slushy bits flowing in the creek.  There was not much, not enough to impress.
The ice flowed down the creek until it was stopped by a log jamb.  Had there been more water in the creek it would have kept going, down to the Merced River.  When the creek is high and there is a lot of this frazil ice there's a river of slush, interesting to watch and dangerous to anyone who would walk out onto it thinking it a snow field.
There is a great video of this Phenomenon produced by Yosemite National Park and the Yosemite Fund.  You may have seen it, it has gone viral.  I got the link from three different friends.

Find more watery sites at Watery Wednesday, hosted for us by 2sweetnsaxy.

23 comments:

Barb said...

I have never heard of "frazil ice!" I can see how you could get in trouble if you thought it was solid ground.

Linda Reeder said...

We got the video via email, but I never got around to watching it. So now I just did. Cool! Thanks.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Learned something new. Very interesting.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Learned something new. Very interesting.

Sylvia K said...

Fascinating and I, too, learned something new! Terrific captures as always, Martha! Hope your week is off to a great start! Enjoy!

Sylvia

Gaelyn said...

This is a new phenomenon for me. I presume it could happen at places other than Yosemite under the right conditions. Thanks for sharing this. Love the photos.

Janie said...

The video and your photos are fascinating. I've been to Yosemite, but never in winter. It's a whole different world!

2sweetnsaxy said...

Wow. I'm so glad you shared these. I'd love to visit this place one day.

ewok1993 said...

oh wow, i have got to go there pronto.

have a lovely day.

eileeninmd said...

Intersting post of the ice. The first photo of the Yosemite falls is beautiful.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

How interesting -- I've never heard of frazil ice. I'm going to watch the video later.

We last went to see Yosemite in April and were delighted that all the Falls were still watery!

Judy said...

Never heard of this before, but then, I live in a pretty flat area! I would love to see it!!

jeannette said...

Amazing, Martha! I recognize Bridal Veil Falls, because I painted it this last summer. You are tempting me to go in winter again to see all the snow and ice views!

Genie said...

Your beautiful shots and your fine commentary make this post exceptional. I learned much I did not know. Thanks for all the interesting information.

Frank said...

Interesting phenomenon .. so I learnt something new. Thanks for sharing the images and the link.

Johnny Nutcase said...

nice post, Martha! I've never been to Yosemite in the winter, i'm always on the Tioga side and the pass isn't open. I love that first shot of the ice- really cool! The last photo is really neat too- looks soooo cold though!

chubskulit said...

Beautiful captures!

My Watery Wednesday

Luna Miranda said...

"frazil ice" is new to me...will read up on it.:p

wonderful photos!

Spiderdama said...

Wonderful that first one! Can you climb in that ice? In Norway there is much ice that climbers use. I will never try it (I think)
Have a nice week!

DawnTreader said...

Interesting, thanks for sharing.
My Watery Wednesday is here DawnTreader's Picture Book

Nordis said...

For something beautiful photos and a nice blog.

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

I never heard of this type of ice. Your pictures are good, and I enjoyed the video.

Ann said...

You can use it as a giant ice slide. Amazing.