On my article in the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of Weatherwise


Dr. James R. Carter, Professor Emeritus

Geography-Geology Department

Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790




For a few years I have had a collection of web pages showing what are sometimes called Ice Flowers, Frost Flowers and Ice Ribbons growing on vertical plant stems. 

Over time persons have sent me emails with photos of ice formations sharing what they found to be attractive.  In the process I have seen many things I could not have found on my own, including ice growing from rocks and ice growing from branches of wood. 


I found a commonality in these formations of ice and pulled them together in an article entitled:  Unusual Ice Formations: Studying the Natural Growths of Ice from Soils, Stems, Branches and Rocks

This article is published in the Jan/Feb issue of Weatherwise.  I assume you subscribe to Weatherwise so you know about the article, but if you do not check out their web site. http://www.weatherwise.org/

Copies of the article or the entire issue are available from their web site.

In my article I was not able to give full citations to articles and reference works.  Most of those citations are to be found in my master page on ice formations  http://www.ilstu.edu/~jrcarter/ice/   I am also listing them here.

D. W. Lawler, 1988,  “A Bibliography of Needle Ice” Cold Regions Science and Technology (15: 295-310)

Coblentz, “The Exudation of Ice from Stems of Plants” Journal of the Franklin Institute, 589-621, Nov 1914

Ozawa and Kinosite, 1989, “Segregated Ice Growth on a Microporous Filter” Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, (132: 1)

Go to my site at: http://www.ilstu.edu/~jrcarter/ice/wood/  for links to the pages of Dr. Gerhart Wagner on Haareis or hair ice.  

The recent paper:  Gerhart Wagner, Christian Mätzler: Haareis auf morschem Laubholz als biophysikalisches Phänomen / Hair Ice on Rotten Wood of Broadleaf Trees – a Biophysical Phenomenon, IAP Research Report, No. 2008-05-MW, Institut für angewandte Physik, Universität Bern, 2008 pdf [2.02 MB] is available at: http://www.iap.unibe.ch/publications/publication.php?lang=en

Thank goodness for the Internet and digital cameras for they let us exchange information about these attractive ice formations.  I am most appreciative of the four persons who let me use their photos in my article.

Feel free to contact me at  jrcarter@ilstu.edu  if you see any ice of this nature in your early morning outings.  Or, your ice may be an interesting growth in your birdbath, or ribbons of ice hanging from your fence.  Keep you eyes open and don’t be surprised at the many forms ice takes.




One of the many web pages of Dr. Jim Carter