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Ice Needles

At nearly 5 inches, this is some of the biggest “needle ice” I’ve ever seen! Needle ice like this only forms when the air is freezing and the wet ground is not. Late fall and spring is the perfect time of year for this beautiful phenomena. These delicate needles grow as the top layer of water freezes and expands, the liquid groundwater below it then pushes the ice up and fills in below, only to freeze itself and repeat the process. On a trail this causes a characteristic crunch and fall underfoot, as these ice columns often pushes up rocks and soil - serving as a natural force of erosion. Under a road however the needles push up the pavement and which causes our annual bloom of potholes and frost heaves. This reminds me that even the most delicate things, when working together can be incredibly strong and overcome any obstacle.

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