Our most peculiar icicle

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Everyday items can defy common sense. Take this icicle that formed on the banister of our back steps just after the new year:

Weird icicle 1

In advance, I would have guessed that water dripping off the end of the railing would have fallen downwards—you know, gravity and all—and formed a vertically-hanging icicle like every other one I've seen in my life. Yet the surface tension of the water presumably let each melted drop slide over the previous one, and the temperature was just right to freeze it before it dripped off the end. The result: an icicle matching the angle of the banister.

Even more bizarre, the tip curled up slightly. The whole thing was about 10 cm long. I wanted to see how much further it would grow, but the weather conditions changed; by the next morning, it was gone.


I commented earlier, but the comment did not appear yet? I think this picture can be explained by the idea that the ice formed on the railing, and then when it melted slightly slid about ten inches past the end of the rail, then froze in place again. Gravity still works in Vancouver!

This looks like an Adobe Illustrator effect applied... in real life. :)

Perhaps it's the Diurnal Freeze/Thaw cycle?


There's some pretty cool icicles on that page.

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