Inspired Travel: Ice Flowers in the North Pole

by Amanda Black | April 14, 2013

Inspired Travel: Ice Flowers in the North Pole
North Pole Ice Flowers / Matthias Wietz

If you're willing to make the trek to the end of the world, you might get to see this phenomenon that a grad student at the University of Washington and his professor stumbled upon in the Arctic Ocean back in 2012: Ice Flowers!

North Pole Ice Flowers / Matthias Wietz
Due to the extreme cold and dryness (it was actually colder in the air than in the water), the air pulled moisture off imperfections of the thin layer of ice over the water and bits of the ice vaporized. But, the cold makes the vapor heavy and the air can't hold that weight so crystals form as the water vapor turns back into ice. In other words, it looks like the sea is literally blossoming before your eyes.

North Pole Ice Flowers / Matthias Wietz
But perhaps the most interesting part about these frost flowers, is that each one houses millions of microorganisms, serving as separate temporary ecosystems!

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