Monday, February 02, 2004
      ( 9:05 AM ) Matt  


Last night when I closed my eyes, all I could see were icicles. Yesterday I took about 30 pictures of icicles. I saw some icicles that were small and pointy, clustered in two dimensional grids, crawling down faces of rock, emerging stalagmite style from the ground, and some bigger than me. All these I saw in downtown Toronto.

The best icicles form as the result of a particular weather pattern. Following a large snow, there must be several days of below-freezing weather with strong sun. The sun melts the snow on the rooftops, but as the water tricles over the side of the building, it enters shadow where the lack of sunlight and sub-zero air temperatures cause it to freeze again.

The most amazing icicle I saw yesterday was forty five degrees away from vertical. There is a lamp on a semi-circular support which illuminates a sign above a storefront downtown. Water had been dripping onto the support forming an icicle. (Imagine an upside down U with an icicle in the middle of it, much like the 'element of' symbol on its side.) After the icicle had grown to be about two feet long, the sun rose enough to shine on it directly. This slightly melted the base of the icicle, and it slipped down the side of the U, rotating it 45 degrees. There was a similar icicle on an identical support next to it that hadn't rotated. I'd post a picture, but I can't put upload images here. If you're interested, I'll e-mail it to you though.

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