Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  

Kentucky Color: A Visual Mystery II

By Billy Joe Fudge

I've spent much of my time since 1972 assisting woodland owners in the management of their woodlands and when needed, marketing their standing timber resource to optimize their profits while practicing sustainable forestry.

In my journeys crisscrossing the woodlots of The Great Wooded South, I am always, it seems, in discovery mode. Since I do not work by the hour but the job, I have the opportunity to stop and ponder various anomalies as they present themselves and oftentimes, as with this one, these anomalies turn out to be natural and scientific mysteries.

Friday's "A Visual Mystery" is a wooded, man-made pond in Russell County. When it was constructed to contain what appeared to be pure, sandstone filtered spring water, it was at the edge of the hillside pasture. Since the pasture was not maintained over the past 20 to 30 years, the woodland took its natural course and reclaimed the pasture over those two or three decades.

I walked up onto the small dam and was immediately intrigued by what I thought to be large ice crystals forming on the surface of the water. While pondering the pond surface to, at the very least for my own satisfaction, explain the physics of the ice crystal formation on the surface of water, I noticed that when a breeze crossed over the pond, the surface was not disturbed at all. This curiosity led me to attempt to make a few waves by touching the water surface with my trusty walking stick and I was immediately taken aback by what I found!

When I touched the surface of the water there were no waves produced. In fact, the walking stick did not penetrate the surface at all. The surface actually bent under the weight of the walking stick. What I thought to be a surface of smooth water was actually a thin, leather-like surface coating of pure ice. After doing a little research it seems that ice produced from pure water produces what is called blue ice. I'm getting way out over my skis here because I have very little experience concerning such things and I welcome comments from those who might have more experience and or education along these lines.

At any rate, the "A Visual Mystery" pond consists of pure clean water surfaced with pure, clean, smooth ice which allows the dark, leaf covered bottom to be clearly seen but at the same time reflects light when viewed at the proper angle. The reflection seen on the surface is a snapshot, if you will, looking up at an almost vertical wooded hillside being backlit by the thinly clouded sky above the top of the ridge.

I think the "reverse image world" that is seen when the picture is turned upside down in "A Visual Mystery II" is revealing. According to this Science Daily article, crystal formation and pure water ice continue to baffle the scientific world:

This story was posted on 2021-02-07 14:33:44
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.

Kentucky Color: A Visual Mystery

2021-02-05 - Russell Co., KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge.
Billy Joe writes, "Reality can often lead us right 'Through the Looking Glass' and we get a revealing, or maybe a not-so-revealing, peep at 'What Alice Found'! Ruminate on this scene for a while and gimme your description of that at which you're looking, 'Through the Looking Glass'.

I'll get back to you by Sunday if no one solves the mystery scene and how to find it."

Read More... | Comments? | Click here to share, print, or bookmark this photo.

Kentucky Color - A Visual Mystery II

2021-02-07 - Russell Co., KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge.
Friday's "A Visual Mystery" was a photo of a wooded, man-made pond in Russell County, which consists of pure, clean water surfaced with pure, clean, smooth ice with some unique properties.

Read More... | Comments? | Click here to share, print, or bookmark this photo.


Quick Links to Popular Features

Looking for a story or picture?
Try our Photo Archive or our Stories Archive for all the information that's appeared on


Contact us: Columbia Magazine and are published by Linda Waggener and Pen Waggener, PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270.403.0017

Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia Magazine. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.