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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: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170517090517.htm.
This story was posted on 2021-02-07 14:33:44
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